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Cambridge man’s killing in park appears random, DA says

Paul Wilson of Cambridge died last week after he was beaten in Danehy Park. Middlesex DA Marian Ryan said Thursday at a community meeting that it appears the attack was random.
Paul Wilson of Cambridge died last week after he was beaten in Danehy Park. Middlesex DA Marian Ryan said Thursday at a community meeting that it appears the attack was random.(Jim Davis/Globe Staff)

CAMBRIDGE — Just over a week after a man was beaten to death in Danehy Park, investigators believe the attack was random, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a community meeting Thursday night.

“We have no information at this point that suggests it was other than random,” Ryan said to the audience of more than 150 people who filled the auditorium at Andrew Peabody School.

Paul Wilson, 60, of Cambridge, was found unresponsive in the park early in the evening of Jan. 2. He had suffered severe head trauma park and later died at a hospital, officials said.

Ryan reiterated her appeal for the public to help investigators solve the killing, which remains under investigation.

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“What is important is lots of times, people have a little piece of information. It does not seem at all [consequential] to them. Put together with other things we have, that often can be what leads us to a resolution.”

Police have asked that anyone who was at the park between 6 and 7 p.m. Jan. 2 call their anonymous tip line at 617-349-3359 or the emergency line at 617-349-3300.

Mayor Marc McGovern organized the meeting to give residents the chance to ask question’s about the death, which has shaken the north Cambridge neighborhood. He and others tried to reassure residents that Danehy Park, near Fresh Pond, is safe.

“That doesn’t mean that we’re going to be safe all the time,” McGovern said.

But he said he understood how violent crime can affect residents. “When it does happen, it really shakes us to the core,” he said.

Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. said Danehy Park remains safe. “I can’t stress any harder that Danehy Park is one of the safest parks, if not the safest park” in Cambridge, he said.

One resident, Suzanne Croanin, said the death has alarmed her. She said measures should be put in place so that residents feel safe.

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“It’s scary,” she said before the start of the meeting.” Something needs to be done.”

Croanin, a runner, said that an increased police presence would make her feel safer. She said she often takes 10-second breaks, closing her eyes, while running in the park.

Ingrid Tucker, head of the Cambridge Montessori School, which borders Danehy Park, said she attended the meeting because many students at the school use the park as a playground, due to its proximity.

“It’s important for us to make sure that we can communicate to our parents and our families that the students are in fact safe,” she said after the meeting.

She said the meeting reassured her.

“I think it was good for the community to come together and just find out what the plan is moving forward,” she said.


Andrew Stanton can be reached at andrew.stanton@globe.com.