A man was shot and killed Monday in broad daylight near a middle school in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, drawing a large police response and prompting officials to shut down a busy roadway for several hours and place the school in "safe mode."
Numerous Boston police officers responded to 264 Columbia Road just before 5 p.m. for a call of shots fired. Once there, officers found a man in a vehicle with apparent gunshot wounds near 243 Columbia Road, Supt. Felipe Colon said. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
He was identified by police on Thursday as Daniel T. Mayers, 33, of Haverhill. His family released a statement calling the man, a pastor in Haverhill who was raised in Dorchester, "someone who impacted so many others in nothing but the most positive ways." Read the full statement below.
Following the shooting, the Boston Police Department issued a traffic advisory on Twitter saying Columbia Road in the area of Ceylon Street, Geneva Avenue and Quincy Street is shut down until further notice due to police activity.
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People in the area were told seek an alternate route.
"The road here is going to be impacted for a few hours so people should know certainly this road is going to be impacted," BPD Commission Michael Cox said, adding that reopening updates would be posted to the Boston police Twitter account.
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Cox also noted how close the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School is to where the shooting occurred, urging the public to help with their investigation. The middle school is located at 270 Columbia Road.
"We need the publics help on this one," Cox said. "Columbia Road is a very busy street here, it's very close to the Frederick Middle School so we need the publics help certainly identifying what might have happened and occurred so we can investigate and settle this fairly quickly."
According to the school's principal, Frederick Middle School was placed into safe mode for approximately 20 minutes due to the police activity nearby. The decision was made "out of an abundance of caution," Meghan McGoldrick told families in a letter Monday.
The police commissioner said it appears no one in the school was impacted in any way thankfully, but Cox noted they are continuing to investigate at the scene.
McGoldrick said school staff worked with Boston Public Schools safety services and Boston police to ensure the school community was safe. The "safe mode" was lifted after it was determined that normal after-school activities could resume, and all students were moved to another location to be reunited with their families.
"The Frederick Middle School and all Boston Public Schools are committed to fostering environments where all students feel safe, welcome, and respected," McGoldrick said, adding they were sharing this update as a part of their commitment to open communication and transparency. "Please know the safety and security of all students and staff is one of our most important priorities."
There was a massive police response to the area Monday. Aerial footage from the scene showed at least 10 parked cruisers with numerous officers in the street, where yellow police tape was blocking off a large section of the roadway.
The crime scene is in front of several triple deckers and was extremely active. Red tape could also be seen around at least two black vehicles that appear to be abnormally positioned in the street between a row of others vehicles that are parallel parked along the sidewalk.
Police said the scene is secure, though no arrests have been made at this time.
"Again we do need the publics help," Cox reiterated. "This is a daylight shooting, it happened middle of the day, a lot of people are out here in general."
Homicide detectives were on scene actively looking for clues later Monday. An investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide department at 617-343-4470. Anonymous tips can also be called into the CrimeStoppers tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS or texted to CRIME (27463) with the word 'TIP.'
Police also shared that the Boston neighborhood trauma team had responded to the scene and was ready to provide services for anyone who was impacted by what occurred.
Read the Mayers family's full statement:
Daniel Thomas Mayers, or "Danny" as he was affectionately known, was the 33-year-old beloved youngest son, brother, and a new uncle to a baby nephew. He grew up in the same neighborhood where his life was prematurely taken, as his father, Rev. Dr. Thomas W. O. Mayers was the Reverend at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Columbia Road in Dorchester for nearly 20 years. Raised in the church, Danny knew much about the importance and value of service, which he took on in many different ways. He served as a pastor at his local congregation in Haverhill, where his spiritual impact touched and changed the lives of those around him through his superior management skills to coordinate everything from prayer groups to setlists for music practice. He also served the city of Boston for over 10 years as an employee for the Boston Public Schools Welcome Center, Transportation, and Special Education Departments. He always tried to do everything within his means to assist any colleague, parent, or student he ever came across that reached out to him for assistance, navigating with ease between English and Spanish. He manifested his passion for physical fitness into a small business called IO Workouts, with a roster of clients throughout New England. While he spent time training friends and clients, his presence was far from intimidating as he was characterized by his lightheartedness, sense of humor, and kindness.
We are extremely devastated and this loss is unfathomable as we try to understand the details of this tragedy and find who took the life of someone who impacted so many others in nothing but the most positive ways. Danny's life was taken in broad daylight. As a family, we are all hurting, and the lack of information that would help with the ongoing investigation leaves us with an even deeper sense of loss. If anyone in the public has information that may be helpful in finding the person who committed this heinous and senseless act, we plead with you to please come forward and assist the authorities in helping our family seek justice for Danny. We also request that the media be respectful of our privacy during this difficult time, to allow us space for peace as we grieve. He will be immensely missed and he is truly irreplaceable in our heart and the hearts of others.