Death by gunfire has struck again in the Boston neighborhood of Mattapan, this time taking the life of a 12-year-old kid. Shortly after 2:00 p.m., gunfire was reported at 35 Fessenden St., a three-story property on a side street between Blue Hill Avenue and Norfolk Street, near Walker playground and an elementary school.
According to authorities, the incident took place inside the residence. Late on Thursday, police in Boston announced the arrest of a 22-year-old man from Mattapan named Walter Hendrick on charges of unauthorized possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and improper storage of a firearm (making it accessible to a minor).
Sergeant Detective John Boyle, the department’s official spokesman, said that he will be arraigned on Friday morning in the Dorchester division of the Boston Municipal Court. Boyle was unable to elaborate on Hendrick’s relationship with the kid or his family.
The boy’s identity was withheld pending notification. His background and his family were kept secret as well. A second-floor resident contacted 911 to report her son had been shot in the chest, as detailed in a transcript published on Broadcastify.
The tweet below verifies the news:
A 12-year-old boy died of a gunshot wound in Mattapan on Thursday afternoon, law enforcement officials and neighbors said. The shooting occurred inside a dwelling, according to a police spokesman. https://t.co/5yPiG8xMoJ
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) July 13, 2023
At the scene, Police Commissioner Michael Cox remarked, “Clearly, this is an unnecessary death, it appears, of a young person in our city.” He added, “I implore folks, if you have guns in your home . . . turn them into us. These guns on the street cause damage. It’s as simple as that.”
Officials had not determined whether or not the death was a homicide as of Thursday night. When questioned if the shooting was accidental, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden responded, “way too early in this investigation for us to comment on that.”
I think the public can rest well knowing that we don’t see any imminent danger to the public’s safety. The neighborhood went about its business as usual despite the ongoing police investigation at the house. Wilva Mark, who has lived in the region since 1986 and now lives on Wilmore Street, remarked, “This was known as a model street in the area.” Neither she nor her next-door neighbor George Rice heard the gun go off.
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“I was just sitting on my porch and I didn’t hear anything,” he said. Young children enjoyed the splash pad at Walker Playground during the hot summer months. A small group of older kids shot hoops. Some of the parents there didn’t know that a child had been killed within a few blocks of the playground.
About once a week, you can find Liriano Tiowiho bringing his children to the playground. He had no connection to the family of the murdered youngster. “I come here and it feels safe,” he said The number of killings in Boston has increased to 20 so far this year from 13 at this time last year, as reported by the police.
Mayor Michelle Wu said, “I just want to send our deepest condolences to loved ones and family who are grieving what no family should have to grieve.” City authorities from other departments also urged locals to do their part to ensure the safety of youngsters.
Mayoral Appointee Michael Flaherty advised adults to keep guns out of the hands of youngsters, both legally possessed and stolen. “As a parent, it’s an unthinkable tragedy,” Flaherty said. “Firearms and children shouldn’t be used in the same sentence.”
Mattapan is a big part of Councilor Brian Worrell’s district, and he has claimed that it is “impossible to process the pain and devastation in the tragic loss of this child and that we, as a community, were unable to protect them from violence.”
“A 12-year old dying at the hands of a gun is not normal, and we can never accept it as normal,” said Councilor at Large Ruthzee Louijeune. “As a Mattapan native, I’m heartbroken that these traumatic incidents happen, and determined to work with community so that they never happen again.”
The murder of the kid occurs just over a week after five individuals were shot near Mattapan Square following a Fourth of July party. After the shooting, two men and a woman were arrested on gun charges. On the morning of July 5 at around 2 a.m., police were called to the intersection of Edgewater Drive and River Street in response to a shooting.
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When police pulled up a car they believed was trying to flee the area, they discovered a third man who had been wounded in the shoulder and was being rushed to the hospital by his brother. After their arrival at Faulkner Hospital, two more allegedly shot victims were reported by police.
The death of the 12-year-old boy is the most recent tragedy involving a child shot or killed in Mattapan. Tyler Lawrence, a teen, was killed on Babson Street in January. The Norwood kid was visiting his grandparents on a Sunday morning when he was shot five times. The city felt shock waves from the ferocity of the crime.
A toddler was killed in April when a stray gunshot penetrated the glass of his Cummins Highway house. Less than a mile from the Fessenden Street tragedy is where 2023 began for Boston, with the murder of Jymaal Cox. At a house party on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan on New Year’s Day, the 33-year-old father of two was shot and killed.
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