In the wake of the senseless murder of Charlestown teen Ryan Morrissey, residents came together Tuesday night at the Harvard Kent School to discuss public safety in the neighborhood as Charlestown begins to heal following the tragedy.
Close to 300 residents crowded the school Tuesday night to attended the regularly scheduled Boston Public Safety Meeting.
Father Dan Mahoney began the evening with some words of comfort and unity before commencing a moment of silence for Morrissey and his family. Morrissey is the 17-year-old victim of the November 5 shooting on Main Street. Due to the serious nature of the ongoing homicide investigation Captain Kenneth Fong, Commander of Area- A1 broke from the regular order of business to discuss the events of the past two weeks.
Several members of the Boston Police Department were in attendance including Commissioner William Evans, Deputy Superintendent Bernie O’Rourke, Boston Housing Police Chief Stephen Melia, and commanders of the gang and drug units. Commissioner Evans assured the crowd that the BPD was doing everything in their power to solve this homicide.
Evans said because of the ongoing investigation the police could not divulge much information. The police did, however, stress that from all accounts Morrissey was an unintended innocent victim. BPD also shared that they are quite certain the shooting was drug related but not gang related. The Commissioner stressed that increased drug use is the cause of most crime in Charlestown and across the city.
Also in attendance were State Rep. Dan Ryan, City Councilor Sal LaMattina and At-Large City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Michael Flaherty.
“Our community is reeling from recent events,” said Ryan. “People want answers. I believe last night’s regularly scheduled meeting was a step in the right direction. The issues that plague our community won’t get solved with a two hour meeting or a FB post. We need to continue our vigilance as a neighborhood. Ridding urban areas of drugs and violence is not just a policing matter; it is an issue of public health, economic development, housing, education and on and on. I thank the Commissioner and others for being as candid as possible under the circumstances. As we begin the healing process, committed residents need to continue work with all levels of government to ensure our community on a long term plan to prevent any more families from going through such an ordeal”.
After several presentations from command staff within the Boston Police Department the floor was opened to questions from the audience. Many question focused on adequate police staffing levels and whether other city resources that could be brought to bear on hot spots such as the Bunker Hill Housing development and areas of Main Street.
“We are going to work with the police and other agencies to make public safety a priority here in Charlestown and in all the other neighborhoods in Boston,” said LaMattina. “People should not live in fear and children should be able to attend school, play and walk their neighborhood free of violence.”
Ryan and LaMattina said their offices, “will continue to follow this story and update the community on subsequent meetings.”
The Charlestown BPD Public Safety meeting regularly occurs the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Police sub-station on Vine Street.