Family, Community Mourn 15-Year-Old Killed in Dorchester Shooting

No arrests have been made, and police have not commented on the possible motive

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Rapid gunfire -- a young teenage boy shot and killed, just steps from a playground. Ellington Street in Dorchester turned into a crime scene just before 7:30 Wednesday night.

Family members identified the shooting victim Thursday as 15-year-old Curtis Ashford Jr., who just graduated from eighth grade. They said he had gone to the park to meet up with friends.

The neighborhood is still reeling. The victim was so young that most of his friends are still in middle school.

"He's a kid. He didn't deserve that," said Dale Deeble, who said he had just talked to Ashford before he left for the park. "When I see him walking up the street, the energy, the smile... But when you hear this happen, it's like, he's a kid."

The victim's age was not given, but Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden referred to him as "a young teenager."

As police canvassed the neighborhood for evidence and witnesses for hours Wednesday night, the mayor and the district attorney pleaded for the public to come forward with information.

“When we see the loss of life, and particularly a young child, we’re all robbed of the potential, the life that was ahead of this young person," Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Wednesday night.

“We will do everything we can within our power to solve this and bring whomever unfortunately gunned down this young man to justice," Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden added.

“It’s sad because, it’s like, this playground is meant for the kids, but all the gun violence is kind of hard to bring the kids out here and be scared that they might get shot or bullets flying,” said one mother who lives nearby.

Chris Sanders, who lives nearby, said he heard the shots on Wednesday night and tried to save Ashford.

"When I walked out on the steps, that's when I saw a young man on the ground right in front of my neighbor's driveway. I went to help him, but I couldn't find any wound holes," he said.

No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.

As police try to figure out who pulled the trigger and if the teen was targeted, those who live here say the shooting should be a wake-up call that more needs to be done to address youth violence in Boston.

"We have to engage with young people," community activist Domingos DaRosa said, explaining that more resources are needed, especially during the summer, instead of cutting programs and closing community pools due to staffing issues.

"This 15-year-old could have been working as a lifeguard just getting off work at 7 p.m.," he said. "That can make a difference in a young person's life."

Police and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced Wednesday night that a juvenile male had been shot to death on Ellington Street.

Another part of it is policing, but with no police commissioner in Boston for so long, they say any progress has been a challenge.

"The whole community is frustrated that there hasn't been anyone in charge of policing the most vulnerable community in the City of Boston," said Rev. Kevin Peterson of the New Democracy Coalition.

But with new Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox scheduled to start next month, they are hopeful that more can be done in this community.

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