Boston Police made huge breaks in the murder case of 17-year-old Ryan Morrissey Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon in arresting Julio Baez, 24, of Charlestown; Danilo Soto, 21, of Dorchester; and Alexander Soto, 17, of Charlestown – charging all three with the crime of murder.
“A little over four months ago, a young man by the name of Ryan Morrissey was simply minding his own business, hanging out with friends and doing what kids his age do when he was mistakenly targeted and gunned down outside of a convenience store in Charlestown by a suspect intent on causing hurt and harm to another.” Police Commissioner William Evans said. “For the past four months, BPD Homicide detectives, working closely with our partners in the District Attorney’s office, have worked around the clock in our shared efforts to bring those responsible to justice. To say the least, this was a case of mistaken identity with tragic consequences but, thankfully, those responsible will be held accountable. Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Morrissey family and it is our sincere hope that the news of today’s arrest will provide for them some small measure of comfort and relief.”
Authorities said evidence developed during an ongoing Suffolk County Grand Jury investigation led them to the arrest of Baez on Tuesday charging him with Morrissey’s murder and also charging him for an armed assault with intent to murder for the shooting of a 19-year-old man during the same incident.
Baez entered a not-guilty plea and was held without bail at his arraignment Wednesday morning in Charlestown Municipal Court and will return to court on April 15. During the hearing, it was alleged that Baez drove the getaway car, a grey Acura, that took two shooters from the scene.
A Boston Police spokesman told the Patriot-Bridge that the investigation was “very active and ongoing” and many were led to believe at the hearing that more arrests were coming soon in the case.
That exact thing happened later in the afternoon, when both Sotos (who are not related) were arrested.
Alexander Soto was only identified, however, as he was already in custody on an unrelated matter. Both are expected to be arraigned in Charlestown Municipal Court today, March 12.
“Detectives on the street and prosecutors in the grand jury built the case piece by piece, day by day, until we reached this point,” Suffolk County DA Dan Conley said. “Some cases are made in days and others over a period of years, but none of them fall through the cracks. Every single one gets our best efforts.”
At about 9:40 p.m. on Nov. 5, Boston Police responded to an outdoor scene in the area of 274 Main St. in Charlestown for a report of a person shot. On arrival, they found the two victims, who were transported to Massachusetts General Hospital; Morrissey succumbed to his injuries on Nov. 9.
Though the evidence at the scene was scant – a frequent problem in outdoor shootings where gunmen leave no evidence – detectives and prosecutors assigned to the homicide units of the Boston Police Department and Suffolk DA’s office have been gathering and analyzing surveillance images from nearby businesses, phone records, cell tower records, and other evidence for the past four months.
Those efforts on the street and in the Suffolk County Grand Jury revealed that Morrissey and the surviving victim were standing outside a convenience store on Main Street that night when two men in hooded sweatshirts approached, brandished firearms, and began firing at the victims before fleeing to a car that was waiting on Salem Street. The investigation revealed that these two men had previously walked past the store a few moments earlier.
The waiting car was a gray Acura registered to Baez’ mother. Baez was behind the wheel, prosecutors say, and struck another vehicle while speeding away from the scene. When Boston Police found the vehicle, it had damage consistent with that collision. In a statement to investigators, Baez allegedly acknowledged operating the vehicle on the night of the shooting.
Conley and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans cautioned that the investigation was still very active and that anyone with knowledge of the shooting should share it with authorities.
Anyone with information on the incident, no matter how peripheral it may seem, is urged to contact the Boston Police Homicide Unit at 617-343-4470.