Couple shot to death in Hyde Park home

Drugs called a factor; 4-year-old unharmed

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By Brian R. Ballou and Martine Powers
Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent / July 27, 2011

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She was the daughter of a retired police detective, a daddy’s girl who called him five or six times a day just to talk. Billie Kee was also a mother of two young children who were her life. And as her 4-year-old son slept in another room after midnight yesterday, five shots rang out.

Seconds later, witnesses saw four men wearing gloves flee the Hyde Park apartment, drop guns in the front yard, and speed away in two cars. Authorities arrived to find 21-year-old Kee and her live-in boyfriend shot to death. Police did not release the identity of the boyfriend.

“This was a drug-involved homicide,’’ said Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis.

Officers found the boy unharmed and still asleep in his bed and whisked him away to a waiting ambulance.

The shooting left neighbors and others who knew the couple mystified. Police appealed to anyone with information “to call us and tell us who was involved and why this happened.’’

And the woman’s father, retired Boston police detective William L. Kee, was left with many questions.

“I just don’t know where I went wrong,’’ said Kee, a 29-year veteran of the department. “I just go over and over: What did I miss? As a policeman, did I miss something?’’

Though police believe the homicide was drug-related, Kee said he is certain his daughter was not the target. He said he spoke yesterday with officers stationed in the neighborhood, who said the apartment had never appeared on their radar in drug-related investigations.

Kee, 61, said officers investigating the crime scene told him that his daughter’s boyfriend had been tied up when he was killed. Billie Kee was not restrained and was sitting on a couch when she was shot, he said. “She was just an innocent bystander,’’ Kee said.

Davis would not elaborate on the role illegal drugs played in the case. Police say there were no signs of forced entry into the apartment on Hyde Park Avenue.

Several witnesses who requested that their names be withheld out of fear of retaliation said they saw four men rush out of the multifamily residence after hearing shots about 12:40 a.m.

“It was a real shock seeing all that happen, not knowing if they were going to come here or go into another apartment,’’ said one of the witnesses.

The house where the homicides occurred is part of a row of triple-deckers situated between MBTA tracks and a strip mall anchored by a supermarket. The neighborhood is middle class with a considerable Latin-American immigrant population.

Kee, speaking from his home in Quincy yesterday afternoon, said his daughter moved into the apartment two years ago. Around the same time, she began dating her boyfriend. Six months ago, the man moved in.

Kee did not know his daughter’s boyfriend well, but said he had always been polite and friendly. On a few occasions, Kee met some of the man’s family members. He encouraged the couple to get married.

Kee said his daughter was even-keeled, the member of the family who could resolve arguments and keep everyone else calm. Being a mother was her primary passion, and she never complained about the work of raising her two children - Derek, 4, and Serene, 6, who was visiting another family member when the shooting occurred, he said.

Yesterday morning, several residents reacted to the homicides.

“It’s so scary to think something like that happened just several homes away,’’ said Dia Jawando, 21, who has lived nearby for four years.

“She was a very good person, every time she came out of her house, she was going to the supermarket or walking her dog. They [Kee and her boyfriend] did everything together. They were friendly but just didn’t really talk to anybody or mess with anybody.’’

Coraima Figuereo, 18, a student at Madison Park High School who lives nearby, said she went to work yesterday morning but returned home because she was too distraught.

She has lived on the street for 10 years and often talked with Kee. “I still can’t believe it, I was in shock. They never had problems, no police, nothing.’’

Numerous residents, including Jawando and Figuereo, said the couple often had a lot of visitors.

Billie Kee graduated from Cathedral High School and entered the Boston Police Academy as a cadet in 2008, but after only two weeks, decided that police work was not for her, her father said.

She completed a course at Action for Boston Community Development on elderly nursing care in the spring. Her father attended her graduation. His daughter liked helping the elderly, he recalled, and thought it would be a good fit for the future.

Kee recalled the countless times he has had to knock on a door or approach a family in a hospital waiting room and break the news that a loved one had been killed. He said it had not crossed his mind that he could be on the receiving end of that news.

“I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d go to a homicide scene and have my colleagues tell me that my own child is dead,’’ Kee said.

Brian R. Ballou can be reached at Follow him on twitter at @globeballou