Violence Continues: Innocent Bystander Hit by Gunshots

Some residents and city councillors are demanding a more visible police presence around City Hall following two shooting incidents this week, while at the same time, detectives from the Chelsea Police Department press for an arrest in a daylight shooting last Saturday across from City Hall that injured an innocent bystander.

Fay Square – at the corner of Chestnut Street and Washington Avenue – was rocked last Saturday around noon when shots rang out and two people were hit with bullets. All injuries were non-life threatening and police said this week that they have suspects in mind, but that the primary victim in the shooting is not exactly cooperating.

Another victim – just a man walking down the street some distance away – was struck by a stray bullet in the lower leg.

“We have our suspect in mind,” Police Chief Brian Kyes said. “We’re working on a full court press, and hoping the victim will cooperate.”

That was followed up on Tuesday night by reports of gunshots being fired in Cary Square – which is up Washington Avenue from Fay Square.

Kyes said that at 8 p.m., there was a report of two young men in Cary Square shooting at one another for some unknown reason. There were no reports of injuries in the shooting, and no one in the neighborhood called to report the extensive gunfire.

The report actually came from a passer-by who witnessed the shooting from her car while driving home to Everett. She phoned Chelsea Police once arriving at her Everett home.

When police arrived on the scene Tuesday night, though there had been no local reports to the police, they did find several people in the area who reported hearing the gunshots.

Police recovered ballistics evidence from the scene and are tracking down surveillance video from several different vantage points.

“Some names of potential suspect have already surfaced,” Kyes said of Tuesday’s incident.

In Saturday’s shooting, sources told the Record that the primary victim was wearing a court-ordered ankle bracelet. That would indicate that he is court-involved as well, perhaps recently let out of jail and on closely monitored probation.

He was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the shoulder.

The scene frightened many in the area, as media reports indicated that the bloody victim stumbled into a hair salon across from City Hall asking for help and terrifying customers in the busy salon. Many in the salon reported that they were scared the shooter was going to come into the salon and finish off the victim in front of everyone.

Afterward, reports indicated that the victim made his way across to the Central Fire Station where firefighters treated him for his injuries before an ambulance whisked him away to Mass General.

He is expected to survive and Kyes said they believe the victim knew his attacker.

The shooting also riled Chelsea Firefighters, whose union put out an alert for members after Tuesday night’s shooting, warning them to be extra vigilant when responding to calls from the Washington Avenue area.

Both incidents – as well as previously reported and unreported incidents – have strengthened a call by some city councillors and residents for walking patrols during the evening hours in the City Hall area.

Last week, prior to the shootings, District 5 City Councillor Joe Perlatonda called for more police presence in the area. He indicated at the time that conditions on the streets are not totally reflected in official crime statistics.

Other councillors, including Perlatonda, pointed to an 11-0 vote taken earlier this year on a motion that called for walking patrols on Broadway – as well as monthly crime reports to the Council.

“Enough is enough,” said Perlatonda on Wednesday. “I hear we have another shooting incident to follow up Saturday’s. Last Saturday you have an innocent guy walking down the street at noon who got hit with a bullet. This has got to stop and we have to do something about it. People are afraid to go out after 8 p.m. in the Central Business District. I drove through Bellingham Square at 8:15 p.m. last Monday and no one was there. Everyone I talk to is scared.”

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