Gunfire disrupts Hub church's calm

One wounded, gunman sought

Boston police examined evidence near a parking lot where they said one person had been shot in the shoulder last night. Boston police examined evidence near a parking lot where they said one person had been shot in the shoulder last night. (JUSTINE HUNT/GLOBE STAFF)
Email|Print| Text size + By John C. Drake
Globe Staff / November 5, 2007

Members of Dorchester's Holy Tabernacle Church were wrapping up a special service last night when the sound of gunfire outside disrupted their worship.

Immediately, they grew concerned about several young men who were watching the church's parking lot, standing in for members of the church's men's ministry, the Brotherhood, who were being honored inside.

Church members' worst fears were set aside when several men ran out and saw the young men sitting on a stoop.

But police and witnesses said one person had been shot in the shoulder in the parking lot, and the gunman was being sought.

The victim, whose age was not available, was taken to Boston Medical Center with injuries that were not considered life threatening, police said.

The shooting happened about 7:05 p.m. in the large lot between the church and a Burger King restaurant on Washington Street, near Columbia Road.

The church, officially known as Holy Tabernacle Church of God in Christ Apostolic, was full with members and visitors because of the special evening service.

"We heard about six or eight shots," said W. Sylvester Wright, a bass player for the church's choir, whose car was among several blocked off by police tape after the shooting.

He said he ran out with a few other men and saw several private security guards with guns drawn. They were joined by police officers.

One church member, who declined to give his name, said he saw three girls on bicycles scatter from the parking lot. When a pair of them returned for their bikes, they told him the gunman jumped into the back of a brown sport utility vehicle, which was waiting on a street next to the church, he said.

"We had guests come in from out of town, and then you have gunshots right outside the church," said Ben Hester, another church member who said the shooting disturbed the sense of safety members feel inside the church. "You feel safe and content in church."

Gun violence also struck a Roslindale public housing development earlier yesterday.

A 19-year-old man was shot four times after being approached by gunmen while sitting in the back of a cab at the Washington-Beech public housing development in Roslindale about 1:30 a.m.

The victim was being treated yesterday at Brigham and Women's Hospital for injuries that were not considered to be life threatening, a police spokesman said.

A cab driver told police that as soon as he picked up a fare early yesterday on Beechland Street, two male gunmen, believed to have been between ages 16 and 18, walked up to the cab, and one of them began shooting at the passenger in the back seat.

The driver told police that he drove away but got out and ran after hitting a dead end on Beechland Street. He hid behind a house on Beram Street.

The passenger also ran, and was pursued by the two gunmen, who continued firing in his direction. Witnesses reported hearing between seven and 15 gunshots.

Police found the victim nearby on June Street. The cab had been struck by bullets in a rear passenger window, the dashboard, and windshield.

The number of nonfatal shootings has been down slightly this year, according to year-to-date city crime statistics released Oct. 28, the latest information available. Through that date, there had been 244 nonfatal shootings in the city, compared with 275 at that point in 2006. The statistics included only shootings in which a victim was struck by gunfire.

John C. Drake can be reached at

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