Law enforcement agencies vow, Weve had enough
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O'Toole also would not predict how long the additional federal and state help would remain in place, except to say that the troopers and agents would stay until the city violence subsides. "We'll reassess each week," she said.
Prosecutors also have pledged to help, she said. US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, state Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley have said they will speed arrests and prosecutions of suspects in more serious cases.
Whenever possible, police will press for prosecution by federal authorities, rather than their state counterparts, O'Toole said in an interview before the news conference.
"We know for a fact that some of these players are particularly fearful of being prosecuted in the federal system," she said. "It's one thing to do time in the House of Corrections down the streets. It's another thing to do time in a federal penitentiary away from Massachusetts."
The new antiviolence campaign will follow the "unified command model" used during the convention. Personnel from all of the agencies will meet daily for a briefing and roll call, and Boston police commanders will oversee the assignments each day.
Colonel Thomas Robbins, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, said his troopers will "work hand in hand" with Boston police "to rid the streets of criminals. The State Police is fully committed to this effort."
Yesterday's news conference took place less than 24 hours after the latest violent slayings in Boston.
Police have not released the names of the two people who were shot to death after 8 p.m. Thursday in an apartment house on Dyer Street in Dorchester. But the family of Yuri Hamilton, 17, of Somerville, said officials had told them he was probably one of the victims.
"He had his ups and downs, but he was a good kid," said Yuri's father, Stephen Hamilton.
One high-ranking police officer with knowledge of the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Hamilton was shot at the house.
Two high-ranking officers said the shootings were prompted in part by an attempt to steal a large amount of money one of the victims won gambling at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. One officer also said the person who fled the scene in a white BMW may have, acting in self-defense, shot the man who was attempting to steal the money. Police say they are seeking the driver for questioning.
The slayings Thursday night were in the Boston police District B-3, where about half the 42 murders in Boston have occurred this year. The district includes large parts of Mattapan and Dorchester.
Captain Timothy Murray, who heads the district, said in an interview yesterday that 17 homicides have been recorded in the district to date this year, four fewer than in all of last year.
Despite the dramatic spike in homicides, the district has less staffing than in some districts with less crime.
For example, Murray said, District A-1, which includes Beacon Hill and has recorded no homicides this year, has 123 police officers on its workforce, while about 100 are assigned to District B-3.
Murray blamed the surge in violence in Mattapan and Dorchester on the "mindset out there among young people that a beef, a feud is never over."
That atmosphere has led to an increase in gun possession and use, he said. Since January 2003, Murray said, officers in B-3 have made 137 firearm arrests and recovered 178 guns.
"My officers are making gun arrests every three days," Murray said. "In 3 square miles, every three days, that's incredible."
He said solving homicides has not come so easily, though, largely because witnesses and victims of gun crimes have been largely uncooperative.
Because so many killings are considered retaliatory, Murray said, some victims are afraid of self-incrimination, while many witnesses fear for their safety.
Globe correspondent Emily Anthes contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.