A city public works employee who was fatally shot Wednesday in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was not the intended target, the Essex County District Attorney's office said Thursday.
The victim, Marcos A. Ruiz-Rodriguez, 52, of Methuen, was performing road repairs on Andover Street in Lawrence when he was shot. Police responded to a report of shots fired around 2 p.m. and found him suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"He was just filling the potholes, doing his job, and 'boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,'" witness Steven King recalled. "I told his two co-workers to press on the wounds to keep the blood in, and saying, 'Stay with me, stay with me,' and that's when all the cops started to show up."
"I heard three shots, come over to the corner of Andover street and I noticed a DPW worker laying on the ground and a car took off up the street and the next thing I know my neighbor said a city worker was on the ground," witness Robert Ansaldi added.
The street was shut down while police searched for the shooter. Families who were being escorted to their homes said the situation was chaotic.
"Honestly it's been a mess trying to get home," neighbor Caitlyn Pellerin said. "It's sad that a man has lost his life and his family going through the grieving process."
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Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera called Ruiz-Rodriguez "a great employee" who had worked for the city for many years.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," he said. "We will be reaching out to the family to let them know we are here for them and to support them through this tough time."
Rivera said he met with city DPW workers on Thursday morning "to let them know we are all in support of them."
"These are some of the hardest working city employees who often times do some thankless work -- pushing snow, picking up trash, picking up needles. To see a fellow employee die in this manner is unsettling to say the least. We want to put our arms around them, make sure they are safe, supported and loved and so they know they are not alone."
No arrests have been made. The district attorney's office said the shooting remains under investigation.