Man shot, killed near Boston’s landmark Prudential Center
Just before 11 a.m. on a sunny, late spring day, Dorchester resident Ken Smith was heading into the Prudential Center shopping mall Tuesday when a man cried out, “He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!”
“I did not take the time to look for the shooter,” he said. “I just booked it.”
As terrified onlookers ran for cover, a taxi driver was shot several times on Huntington Avenue in front of the Colonnade Hotel. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police did not name the victim. But a law enforcement official briefed on the case identified the man as Luckinson Oruma, 60.
Officers on the scene received information that the suspect had fled in a taxi, police said. Several witnesses called 911 and directed police to the suspected gunman, who was arrested nearby on Ring Road, Police Commissioner William Gross said.
“The witnesses cooperated with police, there was a detail officer on scene, and a potential suspect was placed under arrest,’’ Gross said.
The suspect was identified as Phillip Foy, 34, of Pawtucket, R.I. He is expected to be arraigned on charges of murder, armed carjacking, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Police said they found a gun on Ring Road next to a white taxi.
Joe Litvack, a treasurer at Independent Taxi Operators Association in Dorchester, said the victim drove a cab that used his company’s dispatch service.
Litvack, who declined to name the victim, did not know the victim personally but said that those connected to the taxi industry in the city were in shock.
“It’s upsetting for all of us to see a working man head out of his house in the morning and not go home,” he said during a brief phone interview on Tuesday. “It’s the worst thing for a working man.”
“It’s shocking because in Boston, it doesn’t happen,” said Litvack. “This type of thing just doesn’t happen here, it’s not the usual thing for cab drivers anymore to have worry about this type of thing.”
Recalling the shooting, Smith, 57, said he heard three to four shots as he rushed inside the mall, then one last shot from the foyer.
“You don’t know if it was one person [shot] or is it someone randomly shooting everybody,” he said. “It was scary. My heart was pounding. You don’t know what’s going on.”
Frank Minaya, a 30-year-old Roxbury resident, said he saw “a bunch of people” running and yelling, “Active shooter!” in the aftermath of the shooting. Minaya, who works in the Prudential Center, said he saw the victim bleeding on the ground on Huntington Avenue. People attempted CPR, he said.
Police did not disclose details about what may have prompted the shooting but said it was not random.
Gross said witnesses reacted quickly to help police capture the suspect. “It’s just unfortunate that this occurred almost at midday in our city,” he told reporters at the scene. “As we always say, this should not be tolerated. We should work together to make sure things like this don’t happen.”
Two busloads of witnesses were taken to police headquarters for questioning. Gross also offered condolences to the victim’s family.
“God bless the victim,” he said.
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins echoed Gross’s comments, saying, “We want to send our thoughts and prayers to the family of the victim. But we are actively working on this right now and ask for your patience.”
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said the shooting was “something that we’re not used to” in Boston.
Visitors and witnesses were shocked by the chaotic scene, as helicopters whirred overhead and police sirens blared in a popular area of the Back Bay.
“We didn’t think it could happen in such broad daylight,” said Akul Bahl, 22, a student at Northeastern University.
Rich Lyons, a painter who was working in the Colonnade at the time of the shooting, said someone inside the hotel told him “someone’s been shot,” so he ran outside and saw the confusion unfold.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” Lyons said.
Kara Deyermenjian was walking near the intersection of Ring Road and Huntington Avenue when she saw at least three police officers run by her, some with guns drawn. She saw the handcuffed suspect being led into a police vehicle, she said. He did not have any shoes on, kept his head down, and was not talking, she said.
“It was scary because I didn’t know if I was going to be caught in a crossfire,” she said.
A visitor from Minneapolis, who identified herself only as Diane, said she came upon the shooting scene shortly after she left the Colonnade Hotel with her daughter to go shopping.
She initially thought the victim in the street had fainted but then she saw two men take off their shirts in an effort to stem his bleeding.
Bystanders were capturing the commotion on their phones, she said. She said she did not want to be outside because, she “didn’t know where the gunman was.”
“I’m better right now,” Diane said late Tuesday afternoon,“but I was pretty shaken up this morning.”