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Eyewitness to a Shooting in Uphams Corner April 18, 2013

Jerusalem FurnitureA rather routine late-night walk turned into a surprising series of events on Dudley Street in Uphams Corner - watching a shooting take place and later running into a gang of angry youth. What will school vacation week bring us next?

Going for a Walk at 10:15pm

On Thursday, April 18, 2013, my dog, Sarah, asked me to take her for a walk around 10:15pm, so out we went on our usual trek - down Dudley Street to Columbia Rd, then left onto Hancock Street and back.

As we walked on Dudley Street in front of Rainbow and almost home,  a raucous noise caught my attention - sounding like a loud argument or a fight. Across the street in front of Jerusalem Furniture I saw maybe a dozen teenagers in motion - doing what I wasn't sure. Then I heard the noise of something hitting the metal security grate.  They were banging one of the youth into the it over and over. "Goodness gracious." I don't carry a cell phone. What should I do - cross the street to try and talk some sense into them?

Now on the other side of Virginia Street but still watching them, I notice one youth pulling back away into the street. With his back to me but facing the group, he lifted his arm in the air and shot at them with a handgun. From where I stood, the gun sounded barely louder than a cap gun but the bright silver color caught my eye, looking like a shiny platinum jewel under the street light.

Later on, thinking about what I saw, I realized this was an honest-to-goodness movie set. This kid appeared taller than the others, well dressed with a black jacket and giving a rather svelt appearance. His style was perfect and his comfort level with the handgun suggested he knew it well.

The gang of kids was relatively quiet and there was no indication of "a man down." The shooter turned and ran up Virginia Street, fast as lightning. I followed after him, begging my painfully slow dog to walk just a little faster. As he rounded the top of the slight hill, he disappeared, maybe heading into one of the open yards. Then like a rush of the Red Sea collapsing in on the Egyptian army, I heard a throng of chatter growing louder. All the kids were running up Virginia Street after the guy.

The Police Show up

But that wasn't the surprising part. Out of nowhere from all directions came police cars - hoardes of them. They came from Dudley the wrong way up Viriginia Street. They came from the right way down Virginia Street. When I got to Davern Ave, more police cars and same with Arion Street that snakes behind Pilgrim Church. My neighbor later told me that police cars were also all over Monadnock Street. How did they get there so fast? No one said so, but it is common knowledge that the shotspotters can pinpoint a gunshot allowing police cars to arrive at the scene in seconds.

I spoke with many officers and told them what I knew but my story didn't seem to be useful to them. They were looking for a person, a gun, ballistics or a victim, not some lady's story.

When I got back to Rainbow, I wasn't allowed to go home. Dudley Street had been blocked with yellow police tape. That meant I had to walk through St. Kevin's to Virginia Street then to the back end of Monadnock or down Belden to Humphreys Street. Neither one was a good choice - not at that time of night where the only safe streets are the lighted main streets. But Belden to Humphreys was our pick.

By the time I got back to Dudley Street, the yellow police tape was gone but surprise, surprise. Deja vu - the "same" kids were back in almost the same location, this time in front of Amado Enterprises.

"Did you know about the shooting?" I asked one of them. "We didn't do no shooting!" Ghetto attitude everywhere like they were angry. One young lady, who some day will make an excellent army boot camp trainer, said to the others: "You don't talk to no stranger in the street. Let's go!" And everyone followed her dutifully towards Columbia Rd.

A police officer walked up to me and said: "They're mad. They paid money to get into a party on Magnolia Street and we shut the party down."

So goes another night in the saga of Uphams Corner teens during school vacation week. I finally got home to quiet at 11:20pm.

Note:  While not documented on the Web, police have since stated they identified a victim with a gunshot wound to the hand who had travelled to Edward Everett Square. 

Posted: April 20, 2013 Nancy J Conrad

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