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‘I’m just in disbelief’: Witnesses describe Boston shooting that injured six

Boston police detectives walked on Maple Street in Roxbury on Saturday after six people were shot Friday night.
Boston police detectives walked on Maple Street in Roxbury on Saturday after six people were shot Friday night. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

After work Friday night, a 29-year-old woman drove to her aunt’s house in Grove Hall to pick up her dog, a black puppy. People were gathered behind a two-family house at the corner of Maple and Schuyler streets, eating leftover barbecue from the Fourth of July.

As the woman was loading the dog into her car, shots rang out, according to her sister. A total of six people were shot, including the woman and her two cousins, who are sisters.

“It’s just crazy,” the sister said Saturday afternoon in an interview near the shooting scene. “I’m just in disbelief that three of my family members got shot. Not one. Not two, but three.”

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The victims and family members asked not to be identified out of concerns for their safety.

A bullet struck the woman in the leg while one of her cousins was shot in the foot, her sister said. The second cousin was hit three times and then ran into a nearby apartment building, leaving bloodstains on the stairs.

The woman, who had survived a stabbing in 2005 and was struck by an errant bullet at a party in 2010, was expected to undergo surgery Saturday, her sister said. In 2010, their brother was fatally stabbed as he walked to a store on Blue Hill Avenue.

“It’s just very traumatic,” the sister said. “We’re already dealing with a loss. My brother’s murder has been unsolved since 2010.”

At a news conference early Saturday, Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross said the gunfire wounded three women and three men on Maple Street. The victims, he said, were inside a vehicle. The sister said a friend who was at the scene told her the three men had rushed over to try to protect her sister and two cousins. Authorities didn’t say whether the men knew the women who were hurt.

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All six victims were expected to survive, a Boston police spokesman said Saturday morning. No arrests have been made, he said.

The 27-year-old woman who was shot in the foot was recovering at home Saturday afternoon, according to her mother. Her 24-year-old sister, who was shot three times, remained hospitalized after undergoing surgery.

“It was just too much,” said their mother, who ran outside when she heard the gunfire. She declined to give her name or identify her daughters, whom she described as “innocent bystanders.”

Speaking to reporters near the shooting scene early Saturday morning, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins delivered a message.

“Whoever was engaged in this behavior, we will find you and hold you accountable,” she said. “This community deserves to be able to walk outside and enjoy the Fourth of July just as other communities are able to do.”

Gross urged anyone with information about the crime to come forward and help investigators.

The city of Boston dispatched a trauma team to the neighborhood immediately following the shooting. On Saturday, team members returned to the area, where they greeted residents and left information pamphlets about services.

“I share in the outrage and hurt that I know our community is feeling today. These incidents are completely unacceptable and are deeply traumatic for our city,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement Saturday. “Our collective work will not be finished until the number of people injured and families mourning the loss of a loved one is zero.”

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The shooting, which occurred around 11:13 p.m. Friday, followed an outburst of violence on the Fourth of July, when an 8-year-old girl and 35-year-old man were injured by gunfire at Mary Hannon Park in Dorchester. The girl was shot in the foot and received a non-life-threatening wound. The man received life-threatening injuries, said Officer James Kenneally, a police department spokesman. He didn’t have details Saturday about the victim’s current condition.

No arrests have been made in that case.

On Maple Street Saturday afternoon, a pair of plainclothes Boston police investigators visited an apartment building across from the shooting scene. A group of people gathered in the driveway where the barbecue had been going on declined to comment.

Sheril Rhodes, 53, a home health aide from Brockton, said she was staying at a friend’s apartment on Maple Street when the violence started. She said she was on the phone with her daughter when she heard gunfire and then took cover under a bed.

“You could have sworn I was a quarterback or something in a football game, diving for the end zone and a touchdown,” Rhodes said. “I dove right under the bed.”

She said she stayed on the ground until she saw blue lights from police cruisers shine through the window. Outside, Rhodes said people surrounded a woman who was being put into an ambulance. Others tended to another person, she said.

“I’m not coming to Boston no more,” Rhodes said. “My life is too valuable.”

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Another woman who lives in a nearby building said she heard the gunfire followed by yelling. When she looked outside, she said she saw a woman in a wheelchair and about four officers carrying another person to an ambulance.

“I told my mom that we have to move,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

The sister, who said she hasn’t been able to eat since the shooting, clutched a half-full container of orange juice that she had been drinking to sustain herself.

She had been on Maple Street for the barbecue but said she left just prior to the shooting to pick up her boyfriend. She said she sped back when she heard what happened.

“If I didn’t have to go pick him up, I would have been out there, too,” she said. “It’s just so scary.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove the names of one of the shooting victims and her family members.


Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.