A 19-year-old Hyde Park man was shot and seriously injured on Boston Common Tuesday evening and three people were in custody, according to Boston police.
The brazen shooting happened near the bandstand at 6:47 p.m., police said, and triggered a chaotic scene at the nation’s oldest park, with civilians running for cover and police swarming the area.
Police Commissioner William B. Evans said a gun was recovered, and he does not believe it was a random act. He said he believes an argument preceded the shooting and the people involved are known to one another.
The identity of the victim was not released. Evans said he was in critical condition at Tufts Medical Center Tuesday night.
All people involved in the incident are known to police, authorities said.
Two of them fled on a moped and one on foot, Evans said. Police chased after the three individuals, who were not identified Tuesday night. Evans said police chased one of the people into a trolley tunnel at the Arlington MBTA Station.
The trio were being questioned by police Tuesday night, Evans said. There were many witnesses to the shooting, and police were combing the park for evidence and examining video footage, said Evans. He said he was unsure about the motive, adding it was not clear if it was related to gang or drug activity.
“There was a lot of people down here, which was the troubling thing that we have something like this on the Boston Common,” he said.
A large swath of the park, a popular destination for tourists and local residents alike, was cordoned off to the public Tuesday night. Yellow crime scene tape was stretched around the bandstand and tied between trees on the Tremont Street side of the park.
Speaking at the scene, Mayor Martin J. Walsh decried the latest gun violence: “These are happening too much, these shootings.”
He said Boston has gone through a six-week period “where we’ve had a pretty relatively peacefully summer,” and he implored the public to help law enforcement get guns off the street.
“Life is too valuable,” he said.
A large number of Boston and State Police responded swiftly and were on the scene for several hours.
“You just see cop, after cop, after cop,” said Diego Galvis, a 26-year-old from Burlington, who had just left the gym and was planning to pop into a Dunkin’ Donuts for a Gatorade when he heard gunshots.
He tried to seek shelter at a nearby MBTA station but the station was shut down in the aftermath of the shooting, he said.
“I was pretty damn scared, that’s for sure,” said Galvis, who works for a seafood company.
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and people frantically running for cover.
Derrick Shepard was walking out of the Park Street Station when he heard about eight loud pops.
“I thought it was just fireworks,” said Shepard, 32.
But then he saw people scattering.
Caitlyn Shab was in her apartment on the seventh floor at Tremont on the Common when she heard a gunshot.
“Then 15 seconds [later] there was a flurry of like five more,” she said.
“I saw people just running out of the Common,” said Shab, who went to the Common after hearing the shots.”
Terri Kagle and her mother, Brenda Coffey, tourists from Illinois, were enjoying an evening stroll through the Common when they heard a succession of shots.
“People just started flooding out screaming to ‘Take cover,’” said Kagle.
Kagle and her mother fled across the street from the Common. She then called her father to tell him they were all right. It was her first day in Boston.
Catherine Sutton, who lives a block away from the Common, walked into the park after seeing so many officers.
Curious pedestrians who were oblivious to the shooting walked into the public park to check out the commotion, she said. Others were warning about an active shooter.
“As soon as you hear . . . those two words — ‘active shooter’ — it’s like ‘Let’s go. We got to leave.’”
She said the incident was troubling.
“It just seems like a lot of these shootings are happening just in general and it’s really scary,” said Sutton.
The shooting prompted nearby Emerson College to issue a shelter-in-place order to students, but that was lifted just after 7:30 p.m., according to a campus alert.
#BPD confirming person shot (male victim) with life threatening injuries near 139 Tremont St (Boston Common). 2 suspects in custody.— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) September 12, 2017
Danny McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.