Boston

13-Year-Old Killed in ‘Targeted' Mattapan Shooting, Police Ask for Public's Help

The Boston Police Department says 13-year-old Tyler Lawrence of Norwood, Massachusetts, was killed in a shooting Sunday morning in Mattapan

A young teen was killed Sunday morning in what officials are calling a "targeted" shooting in Boston's Mattapan neighborhood, prompting a swift response to the area for an investigation.

The victim was identified Monday night as 13-year-old Tyler Lawrence of Norwood, the Boston Police Department said.

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Police received a call just after 11:30 a.m. for a report of a person on Babson Street. At the same time, officers were dispatched to the area of Fremont and Babson streets for ShotSpotter activation.

Officers found the victim at the end of a driveway outside an apartment building on Babson Street near Fremont after he had been shot multiple times. Boston EMS responded, but it was too late as the victim died from his injuries at the scene, officials said.

Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox was joined on scene Sunday by several officials, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Deputy Supt. Felipe Colon, and Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden.

"After leaving the scene in Mattapan Sunday I went home and watched football with my son, who is also 13," Hayden said Monday. "That's something this family will never be able to do with Tyler, and the explicit tragedy of that reality is shattering. This is an immeasurable loss for the Lawrence family and for the city."

Colon said investigators believe the victim was targeted, though they don't yet know if he has any connection to the house where he was found in front of.

"This wasn't a random incident," he said, noting there was a team of investigators on scene being led by the DA's office as well as the homicide division.

Neighbors said they heard five gunshots ring out before seeing police race to the area.

"Sometimes you know, you misconstrue the sounds of gunshots for fireworks, but no. This was sharp and precise. You knew they were gunshots," one man said.

"It's very tragic to see," said another neighbor who did not want to be shown on camera or identified. "Who would have thought this was his last day today?"

Officials did not share any information on a possible suspect, noting this is still a very active investigation and it's too early to say whether they are looking for more than one person.

The police chief said they are seeking the public's help in their investigation, calling this fatal shooting another "senseless act of violence."

The district attorney echoed that sentiment, calling this another tragic incident in the city.

"Our hearts go out to our community and everyone that's affected," he said, applauding the "very good and swift response" to the scene from his office, the mayor's office, the Boston Police Department and the medical examiner's office.

"Doing everything we can to conduct a good and thorough and active investigation as quickly as possible," he added of the large response. "We're doing everything we can to investigate this scene at this time and if there's anyone in the community that knows anything about what's transpired here or has any information, we definitely need your help and support."

The mayor thanked everyone who had responded to the scene and said they would work quickly toward justice in this case.

"This is a part of the city with incredibly strong community, so many residents have come together to plan and make sure that everyone is on the same page, and today, on a morning when so many families are at church or just enjoying a quiet Sunday morning, it's incredibly painful to have this take place," Wu said. "I want to thank all of our first responders, BPD, EMS and everyone from all of the state and county agencies who were on scene right away and have been working very quickly to ensure that this investigation starts right away so that we can get to justice for this young person and their family."

"It is heartbreaking," she added, noting that they will have trauma supports on scene over the next couple of days as they learn who has been impacted. "We'll do our best to work quickly towards that resolution and ensure that we are here for the long haul with these families."

Officials continued to reiterate the need for the public's help in their investigation, with the police chief saying, "what makes Boston a safe community is all our involvement in keeping it safe."

"So if the public can help us with this, we would greatly appreciate it," he added. "That's how we all stay safe."

Wu said while they are always looking for information from the public and want to give out "every possible hotline number," she did want to emphasize that the "burden is not on residents."

"We are among the best of hands here, leading this investigation," Wu said of investigators. "They're using every possible angle to get us where we need to be for accountability and justice."

The mayor also went on to say that Boston has been trending in the right direction, calling the city a model for other big cities.

"We're a city where you put us up against most other big cities, things are going in the right direction, but that's no comfort for families or individuals whose lives have been impacted and will never be the same again because of an incident of violence, and you know particularly, when it's younger people there are many, many, many impacts that ripple across all of our communities," she said. "We of course are so grateful for the strong partnerships that have gotten our city to the place where we are held up as a national model for community policing and how to bring about public safety, connect with public health."

But neighbors in the area say they don't feel safe.

"Every time I think that we've gotten to a point where OK, enough is enough, something is finally going to be done, nothing is done," one man said.

Rev. Kevin Peterson, the founder of the New Democracy Coalition, stressed that resources need to be dedicated in parts of the city where most of the violence takes place.

"This murder took place in what neighbors recognize as a triangle of murder that spans across Mattapan and Dorchester," he said in a statement. "Our city officials continue to say that crime in Boston is down. But murder in Boston's black community remains a major problem."

Peterson said he was profoundly saddened to stand at yet another crime scene on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon, and that the violence has to be stopped by creating deeper community and police partnerships.

"We're saddened of course about the loss of life, we hope the person or persons responsible for this shooting, this murder is brought to justice very soon," he added.

The Boston Police Department is actively investigating what happened Sunday. Anyone with information is urged to contact homicide detectives at 617-343-4470. Anonymous tips can be called into the CrimeStoppers tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS, or you can text the word 'TIP' to CRIME (27463).

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