Shootings, including double homicide, rattle Brighton and Mattapan
A torrent of bullets ripped through Brighton’s Oak Square early Saturday morning, killing two men in their late 20s, rattling residents, and getting the weekend before the Fourth of July off to a terrifying start.
“Boom, boom, boom, boom,’’ said Dmitry Pyatigorsky, counting the bursts of gunfire he said startled him and his wife, Alla, from their sleep around 12:40 a.m.
Shortly before that, across the city in Mattapan, two other men, also in their 20s, were shot at the corner of Morton and Norfolk streets around 12:18 a.m. Both survived, one with a minor leg wound and the other with serious injuries to his upper body, police said.
The shootings occurred as temperatures soared and police flooded Boston’s neighborhoods with extra patrols to keep watch over the festive, and traditionally violent, weekend leading up to the Fourth of July.
Police Commissioner William B. Evans, urging the public’s help, said he went to the grim crime scene in Brighton on Saturday.
“I was there and saw two people on the street, deceased right there on the scene,’’ Evans said. “We are looking for the public’s help on this. Clearly we feared a busy weekend and we are not off to a good start.”
Last year, 15 people were shot over the July Fourth weekend in 10 separate incidents, the commissioner said.
“We have so many extra resources out trying to prevent this, but we can’t be everywhere,’’ Evans said.
New police data show double shootings in the city are on the decline. There were nine double shootings between Jan. 1 and June 24 compared with 13 during the same period last year, according to police.
There have been 19 fatal shootings so far this year, up from 14 during the same period in 2017, the data show, and 59 nonfatal shootings this year, down from 87 in 2017.
Details on both Saturday shootings were scant — including the victims’ identities — but detectives were working both cases. Evans said the Brighton victims were “clearly targeted.”
James Hills, an antiviolence activist who lives blocks from the Mattapan shooting scene, said the double shooting so close to home is frustrating. Although shootings are down overall, Hills said he faults the city for not doing enough to adequately address systemic violence. Activists are planning a rally Tuesday to highlight their concerns.
“Despite what the numbers say, our community is perpetually re-traumatized and I’m very concerned as we are going in to the July Fourth weekend,’’ Hills said.
In Brighton, residents near the deadly scene — on Faneuil near Dunboy streets — recounted hearing gunshots and the fear they felt.
William Papadopoulos recalled being in his bedroom when he said he heard about six or seven gunshots. Shortly thereafter, he said, he heard sirens.
A female Oak Square resident who asked not to be identified, citing concerns for her safety, said she was on her back porch when the shooting began. “I did hear six shots,’’ the woman said. “I said, ‘Oh, God. I hope nobody got hurt.’ ’’
She said she looked outside and saw a body on the street but went back indoors where her husband and children were.
Dmitry and Alla Pyatigorsky also described the fear they felt.
“We have never had anything like this before,’’ said Dmitry Pyatigorsky, who with Alla has lived in the area for 25 years.
“This is a very good community,’’ Alla Pyatigorsky added.
City Councilor Mark Ciommo, who represents Brighton, called the shooting tragic, saying such fatalities are rare in the neighborhood. He said he lives near the shooting site and went to the scene. He said he’s been talking with law enforcement officers to get updates on the investigation.
“It’s very troubling,’’ Ciommo said of the shooting. “But I’m confident that the police are on the case. . . . No one in the community should be in fear at this time.”