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Witness describes sounds of gunfire and panic in Dorchester park during 4th of July celebration

Mary Hannon Park in Dorchester, where a shooting wounded a 35-year-old man and an 8-year-old girl Thursday night.
Mary Hannon Park in Dorchester, where a shooting wounded a 35-year-old man and an 8-year-old girl Thursday night. Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe

A Fourth of July celebration in a Dorchester park was interrupted by a shooting that wounded a 35-year-old man and an 8-year-old girl Thursday night, a neighborhood resident said.

“All of a sudden, everyone started running,” said Tyrone Davis, 39. “I looked across the street and saw the man laying down in the field.”

Police responded at 10:58 p.m. Thursday to Mary Hannon Park. The man was in critical condition, while the girl, who was shot in the foot, was in stable condition, Police Commissioner William Gross said Thursday night. Police said Friday morning there was no change in their conditions. Gross said it was unknown whether the two victims were related. Police said there have been no arrests.


“As far as we can tell, everybody was in the Mary Hannon Park enjoying the Fourth of July, as they should be,” Gross said.

Davis, who lives across the street from the park, said a crowd of people were sitting on benches by the park’s field, setting off fireworks. He said he distinctly heard the sound of gunshots above the sounds of the firecrackers and that people immediately started panicking.

“It just happened so quick,” he said.

Davis also said he saw a man carrying the girl who had been shot across the street “like an infant.”

“I’m so glad other kids didn’t get hurt,” he said.

Davis said he and his 12-year-old son had been in the park setting off their own firecrackers only about 15 minutes before the shots rang out.

“I’m glad me and my son left in time,” he said.

At mid-morning Friday, as Davis spoke, the park seemed to have returned to normal, offering respite to city dwellers as the summer day grew hotter. People were walking their dogs and a young man was playing basketball.


Another resident, who asked to be identified only by her first name, said she was shocked to hear that a child had been shot in the park.

“I don’t venture out in the park at night because, to me, I don’t think it’s a safe place to be at night,” said Saundra, 71, who has lived near the park for over 40 years.

“And, wow, to hear about a kid being shot. I’ve heard about adults being shot but not children. That’s a first,” she said.

Resident Nezzie Taylor said she heard police sirens but just assumed they were cracking down on illegal fireworks.

“All I heard was when the police came flying up there. I heard all of that but I thought, ‘Well, maybe they’re trying to tell them to calm down a little bit with the noise.’ ”

“When I looked at the news, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is right near my home!’ Who wants to live like that? It’s terrible.”

Supreme Richardson, 56, said he hadn’t seen the shooting but that these kinds of events have become “normal” for this neighborhood.

City Councilor Kim Janey tweeted Friday morning, “Trying to remember what I did on July 4th when I was 8 years old. Maybe I went to the beach with my family, or perhaps a cookout, or fireworks. Maybe I played in a park. Can’t remember what I did, but I know I was not worried about getting shot. Damn shame. We gotta do better.”


Aimee Ortiz and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.