Jose Falcon was slain during a 28-hour stretch that left eight other men hospitalized -- six in critical condition -- in what police are calling a series of unrelated attacks.
Boston police at first reported that a 48-year-old man was stabbed to death at 2:28 a.m. Saturday at Washington Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury, but last night police said they were mistaken. The man, whose identity was not released, was in critical condition at Boston Medical Center, said police spokeswoman Mariellen Burns.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino insisted yesterday that the city is not a dangerous place. "As I was around the city today they still believe this is a safe city," Menino said late yesterday afternoon. "It's not under siege. Every state, every community goes through this. It's alarming to have a weekend like we've had this weekend; we're very concerned about it."
He asked for citizens' help in solving the crimes and curbing the violence, as Boston police shared his frustration.
"We're doing everything we possibly can," said Burns, the police spokeswoman. "It's very warm, there's a lot of people outside. It's frustrating to have a weekend like this."
Falcon had driven to Boston from his home in Bridgeport with his mother to pick up his younger brother, Rafael, who had arrived from Germany, where he had been stationed, family members said yesterday.
The trio was planning to spend the evening with Falcon's aunt in her ground-level apartment in the Bromley-Heath public housing development. When Rafael, Jose, and a third man went to get pizza and beer at around 10 p.m., they had a confrontation at a Jamaica Plain liquor store with several men in a white van who commented on the condition of Jose's Dodge Neon, said his cousin Ernesto Caribe.
The three men returned home and mentioned the run-in to relatives. They were sitting in front of the red brick apartment building at about 11:30 p.m., listening to music and drinking beer, when at least two men appeared out of the darkness and began firing toward the front door, Caribe said. About seven bullets were fired from what sounded like automatic weapons, he said, and Jose Falcon was struck three times.
As he tried to run inside, Falcon fell to the ground at the entrance to the apartment as his brother screamed, "Wake up! Wake up!" Caribe said. Jose said, "They got me, they got me," according to Caribe.
"Those were his last words," he said.
Boston police said Falcon was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early yesterday. He was the 31st homicide in Boston this year. Police said it was unclear whether he was the intended target of the shooters.
"He came all the way up here to get his brother and look at what he got," said another cousin, Samuel Caban. "And his brother, home from the Army and everything. It's messed up."
Jose Falcon's wife died two years ago while giving birth to the couple's second son, relatives said. The boys are now ages 2 and 4, they said.
"I guess his mother will take care of them," said Naomi Solas, a family friend who pointed out several bullet holes from the shooting in the outside walls of the apartment complex. "I can't believe this happened."
As Caribe was cleaning his cousin's blood from the ground inside and outside the apartment yesterday morning he found one of the twisted bullet slugs police overlooked during their investigation. As he held the slug in his hand, his eyes watered. "This killed him," he said slowly, holding the slug at arm's length.
When notified, police immediately returned to the scene and collected the slug. They also reinterviewed family members.
As Falcon's family returned to Connecticut yesterday, seven other men remained hospitalized with gunshot wounds, including Will Reed, a 67-year-old retired car painter who was returning to his Dorchester home after taking a walk at around 8 p.m. Saturday when he was struck in the stomach by what appears to have been an errant bullet.
Marguerite Reed said in an interview yesterday that her husband was able to make it to the Mora Street home the couple has shared for two decades, ring the bell, and tell her he'd been shot before collapsing. She asked him in the hospital if he had seen his attacker. Unable to talk because of the tubes down his throat, he shook his head `no,' she said.
Reed said neighbors told her a man ran through her yard moments before the shooting and that he was being chased by other men in cars. She said she is certain the bullet wasn't meant for her husband.
"He's a wonderful man. He doesn't bother anybody. Everybody loves him," she said, her voice choking. "Whoever did this needs to get themselves together."
Police yesterday released the names of the victims in the other shootings over the weekend.
Mackain Logan, 22, was in critical condition at Boston Medical Center after being shot several times on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester at 7:28 Friday night while he was sitting in the passenger seat of a car.
Akel Durham, 29, was also in critical condition at Boston Medical Center after he was shot in the upper thigh on Ridgewood Street in Dorchester at 12:25 Saturday morning. Several vehicles were riddled with bullets in that attack.
Two unidentified men, ages 22 and 24, were listed in good and critical condition, respectively, after they were found shot on Dixwell Street in Roxbury at 1:28 a.m Saturday. The 24-year-old, from Randolph, was shot in his right side and lower left hip. The 22-year-old, from Roxbury, was shot in the lower right calf and rear left knee. Both men were being treated at Boston Medical Center. Their names are being withheld by police because they are potential witnesses to each other's shootings.
Richard Brown, 21, of Roslindale, was in critical condition at Boston Medical Center after he was shot several times at 3:18 Saturday morning at the intersection of Talbot Avenue and Westcott Street.
And Rodrick Pendleton, 39, of Dorchester, was listed in stable condition at BMC after he was shot in the buttock at 10:21 p.m. Saturday while riding his motorcycle on Harlem and Glenway streets in Dorchester.
Police are asking anyone with information about any of the attacks to call the department's tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS.
Globe correspondent Donovan Slack contributed to this report.
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