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Man shot to death; co-worker arrested

Cambridge's 1st killing in over year

By David Abel
Globe Staff / January 29, 2009
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CAMBRIDGE - Police say the co-workers had been arguing for months.

It wasn't clear to police what the two were fighting about, but authorities said that Clyde Howard ended the dispute yesterday with a handgun.

About 10 a.m., Howard, 65, of Brookline, a custodian for 15 years, chased his colleague Maurice Rickets inside and outside their office at Baystate Pool Supplies Inc. on Smith Place near Fresh Pond, prosecutors said. They said Howard fired multiple shots, hitting Rickets in the head and torso.

Rickets, 33, a machine operator for several years from Malden, was pronounced dead at 11:06 a.m. at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said at an afternoon press conference at Cambridge police headquarters.

It was the first homicide in Cambridge in more than a year.

About six hours after the shooting, Boston police officers arrested Howard on Harris Street in Roxbury. It was not clear if a weapon was recovered.

Howard was booked in Boston and transferred to Cambridge.

He will be arraigned this morning in Cambridge District Court on charges of murder and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Relatives of neither Rickets nor Howard could be reached.

Officials at Baystate Pool Supplies, which is based in Cambridge and has locations in eight states, said they are offering counseling to employees, some of whom tried to break up the fight, Leone said.

"We are devastated by this tragedy and wish to express our sincere sympathy to the family of our valued employee," the company said in a statement. ". . . We are fully cooperating with authorities as they investigate this terrible situation."

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