Boston police arrest suspect in slaying of man shot on Dorchester street
A Mattapan man who allegedly drove the car used in a fatal drive-by shooting in Dorchester July 4 slowed down as the shooter opened fire, prosecutors said Tuesday, capping a violent holiday in Boston that left five people shot in separate incidents.
The chilling details were disclosed in Roxbury Municipal Court as Michael Carleton, 32, was charged with the killing of Deondra Lee, 36, one of three people killed in Boston last week.
Carleton pleaded not guilty, and he was ordered held without bail.
Lee was shot around 9:50 p.m. Wednesday as he leaned against a parked car with his pregnant girlfriend in the area of Brookford and Dacia streets, according to authorities and witnesses.
“Video footage of the vehicle [carrying the shooter] revealed it circled the area of Brookford Street at least once before the shooting,” Assistant District Attorney Masai-Maliek King said during Carleton’s arraignment.
Security video footage showed that the driver allowed other cars to pass, apparently scoping out the victim. The brake lights came on as the car slowed down near Lee, King said.
“Public safety camera footage was absolutely critical in building this case,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “It helped investigators identify the car and, we allege, the person driving it.”
Investigators traced the car to Carleton’s girlfriend, who told police she lost her car keys earlier that day and that the car was missing.
Police found the car on Dudley Street in Roxbury on July 5 and later determined there were no signs of tampering with the key lock or the ignition, prosecutors said. Carleton’s fingerprints were found on the door handle and gear shift, King said.
Carleton has a criminal record that dates to 2004, King said.
No motive was offered for Lee’s slaying. Carleton was arrested Tuesday morning in Mattapan. No other arrests have been made.
Robert Sheketoff, a lawyer for Carleton, said that no witnesses identified his client as the shooter and asserted that the video footage didn’t clearly show who was in the car.
“So his fingerprints were found in his girlfriend’s car,” Sheketoff said. “That proves he was the driver at the time of the incident? That sounds like a reach.”
In a statement, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans lauded the work of detectives to “quickly identify and apprehend the suspect.”
He added, “ . . . it is my hope that word of this arrest brings some small measure of comfort to the friends, family and loved ones of Deondra Lee.”
On Dacia Street, residents described a chaotic scene after Lee’s murder.
“I heard about eight shots and came rushing out,” a Dacia Street resident, who identified himself as Mr. Gonzalez, told the Globe shortly after the killing. “The man was just lying on the ground with a bullet hole in his head.”
Just a few hours earlier, four people were shot, one of them critically injured, about a half-mile away on Fayston Street, down the street from a holiday cookout where children were playing in an inflatable bouncy house, police said.
Lee’s death was one of three homicides in Boston during the holiday week.
Luis Martin Pinales-Perez, 31, of Boston, was fatally shot on Crawford Street in Roxbury on July 3, and Christian Rivera, 29, of Dorchester, was gunned down Saturday afternoon on Homestead Street in Roxbury, police said.
The killings remain under investigation.