Man shot, killed after dispute erupts into brawl in Brockton

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / August 14, 2011

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BROCKTON - A dispute between two men quickly escalated into a brawl between groups on a city street Friday night that left a teenager dead.

James Ortiz, 19, was killed in the melee, Russ Eonas, a spokesman for the Plymouth County district attorney’s office, said in a phone interview.

The two men began arguing around 10:45 p.m. on Howard Street in front of Bridgeway Liquors, which was preparing to close.

The fight spilled into the store, where the men tried to grab bottles to fight each other with, said Kiran Kaur, 23, whose family owns the liquor store.

“They came running in,’’ Kaur said.

Kaur said her father, Malkiat Gill, threw the men out of the store.

“My father got involved and told them to take it outside,’’ Kaur said. “But all of a sudden two gangs showed up. Each guy called his people.’’

A store employee called 911 and Brockton police responded, but not before seven shots rang out and the crowds ran off, Kaur said.

It was not known if Ortiz was one of the original two men or among those who showed up later. The motive for the fight was also unknown.

Brockton police declined to comment on the case.

No arrests have been made, according to Eonas, who would not comment on whether organized gangs were responsible for the fight and the shooting.

Eonas said the shooting is under investigation by Brockton police and state troopers assigned to the district attorney’s office.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at