Metro

Boston police investigate Sunday stabbing that left man with life-threatening injuries

Investigators shut down River Street between Malta and Mattakeeset streets as they examined the crime scene on Sunday afternoon.
Jeremy C. Fox for the Boston Globe
Investigators shut down River Street between Malta and Mattakeeset streets as they examined the crime scene on Sunday afternoon.

A man was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries Sunday after Boston police found him suffering from stab wounds while investigating a report of a shooting in Mattapan, according to the department.

Boston police investigated the area around 640 River St. after they received the report at 12:36 p.m., according to Officer Kim Tavares, a department spokeswoman. It was unclear whether there was a shooting.

At the scene Sunday afternoon, River Street was closed by yellow crime-scene tape between Malta and Mattakeeset streets, and several blue-and-white police SUVs were parked outside the cordoned area, along with a truck labeled Crime Scene Response.

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Officials in plainclothes could be seen conferring, and investigators walked slowly along River Street, closely examining the pavement. Passersby stopped to ask onlookers what had happened, but no one at the scene said they had any knowledge of the apparent attack.

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Joe Homicile, owner of the Toutwel Restaurant at 643 River St., didn’t witness the incident, but he said he believed he knew the victim, based on the description he was given by a bystander.

Homicile said the man was a fellow Haitian who had come to the restaurant for dishes from their native country, though he didn’t know the man well.

“I don’t know his name or anything, but I’ve seen him before. . . . He was a quiet guy,” Homocile said.

“It’s terrible,” he said of the incident. “It’s sad, especially if he didn’t make it.”

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Homicile said the police response to the incident dramatically cut into his lunchtime business on Sunday.

“I saw the commotion and closed the restaurant,” he said.

Initially, his customers had not been allowed to leave, he added, but after about an hour, police began letting them out one by one.

Investigators came inside and asked Homicile if Toutwel has surveillance cameras, he said. He has cameras but only inside the restaurant, he said, and they didn’t capture anything that happened on the street. Police also brought two people who had helped the victim inside the restaurant and interviewed them, he said.

Homocile said he hasn’t seen this kind of violence in the neighborhood since he took over the restaurant about six months ago.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.