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3 Somerville teens arrested in Harvard Square shooting

Police early Thursday morning arrested three Somerville teenagers for their alleged roles in a weekend shooting in Harvard Square that wounded a fourth teen, officials said.

Cambridge police identified the suspects as David Pleitez, 18; Joao Bonicenha, 19; and a 16-year-old juvenile who wasn’t named.

Police said in a statement that gunfire rang out in Harvard Square, an iconic spot in Cambridge that abuts Harvard Yard and is packed with shops and restaurants, around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

That’s when “Cambridge Emergency Communications received a call regarding possible shots fired,” the release said. “Suspects were then reportedly seen fleeing the area towards JFK Street. Nearby Cambridge Police Officers quickly responded to the area. After canvassing the area, Officers recovered four shell casings on Eliot Street.”

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Then, the statement said, a “nearby hospital . . . reported that one victim — [an] 18-year-old Cambridge male resident — arrived on-site with non-life threatening injuries sustained from a gunshot wound. Prior to the shooting, two groups were reportedly involved in several altercations in the Harvard Square area near the Eliot Street garage.”

Surveillance footage helped crack the case.

“Individuals involved in the altercations were identified by the Cambridge and Somerville Police after the Cambridge Police were able to obtain, review and circulate surveillance images with local law enforcement partners,” the release said. “After positively identifying the suspects from Sunday morning’s shooting, arrest warrants were secured. Pleitez, Bonicenha and the 16-year-old were taken into custody early this morning at their Somerville residences. A vehicle involved with the shooting was identified and also taken into custody at one of the residences.”

Now they’re facing serious charges.

“Pleitez and the 16-year-old Somerville resident will face multiple charges, including Attempted Murder, Carrying a Dangerous Weapon, Carrying a Loaded Firearm without a License, Discharging a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Building, and Possession of Firearm without an FID Card,” Cambridge police said. “Bonicenha will face Attempted Murder and Accessory after the Fact charges. Pleitez and Bonicenha are expected to be arraigned later today in Cambridge District Court. The 16-year-old Somerville resident is expected to be arraigned at the Middlesex County Juvenile Court.”

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It wasn’t known what touched off the altercations leading up to the shooting.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard Jr. praised investigators who relentlessly worked on the case.

“Our Officers, along with our partners at Somerville, have been aggressively working this case since the shooting occurred and I am very pleased that this concerning incident was quickly resolved,” Bard said in a statement. “We will not accept this type of behavior occurring in our safe community.”

The Harvard Square shooting and a separate shooting incident that occurred Monday night in Central Square remain under investigation, Cambridge police said. Anyone with information should contact 617-349-3300 or leave an anonymous tip online at http://www.cambridgema.gov/cpd/communityresources/anonymouscrimetips.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.