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Runaway, 14, killed in drive-by shooting

SPRINGFIELD -- A 14-year-old girl who ran away from her foster home was killed in a drive-by shooting, police said yesterday.

Dymond McGowan was shot in the stomach late Thursday night, a few hours after her foster mother called police to report her as a runaway, said Jennifer Flagg, police spokeswoman. McGowan was pronounced dead at Baystate Medical Center.

Flagg said the girl was hanging out in front of a house with people who were drinking and smoking marijuana throughout the day and evening. Police were still investigating the girl's relationship with the half-dozen people she was with and had few details about McGowan.

Denise Monteiro, spokes woman for the state Department of Social Services, said the girl had been in DSS custody since February. She declined to discuss specifics, but said the placement was not because of abuse or neglect by the girl's biological family.

McGowan had first been placed in a group home in Arlington and then moved to a foster family, where she was "doing very well," Monteiro said. The first sign of any trouble was last night when she did not come home by her curfew and her foster mother called police, she said.

A 29-year-old Springfield man also was hit in the shooting and was treated for a knee wound. He was released from Baystate yesterday. His name was not being released because he was a witness, but Flagg said authorities "would not be surprised" if he was the intended target.

The man had been arraigned in criminal court 26 times on several charges, including witness intimidation, assault and battery, and burglary, Flagg said. He is currently on probation, but Flagg did not know for what crime.

Flagg said police were still searching for a suspect yesterday afternoon, but the gunman was described as a male wearing a hooded sweat shirt.

There were three or four people in the white sedan that drove by the crowd during the shooting, she said.