Foch Street Tries to Forget

Pair of Violent Murders Struck Quiet Community Three Weeks Ago

Life on quiet, residential Foch Street in North Cambridge, the scene of a multiple shooting three weeks ago, is back to normal this morning as a 50 year old Brookline man is to be charged with the crime before the Cambridge District Court.

Children now play football on the same Foch St. pavement where early the morning of Sunday, September 5, John A. Burke allegedly shot five persons, killing two and seriously wounding three others.

"If you think you've been jaded by violence on TV, it's nothing until you've seen it in real life," one Foch St. resident who had seen the corpse of a dead woman on the street recalled yesterday. Even her cat, who usually sleeps on the ledge outside her house, was throwing up after the incident and having one of his "thunder and lightning storm fits," she added.

The woman complained about strangers wandering around the neighborhood for days after the incident appeared in the news. She said she was especially surprised at the number of "grown-ups who just seemed to come wandering in off Mass Ave."

"Just tell people not to come," she begged.

The woman could have been speaking for the entire neighborhood of small lawns and wood houses with peeling paint in bland shades of blue, gray, and brown--like most residential neighborhoods in North Cambridge.

One crew-cut resident spoke patriotically of Foch St., and said that he would not move because of the shooting. "It's a very good neighborhood," he said, "Otherwise, I wouldn't live here."

The man mentioned that he has lived on Foch St. for 20 years, about average in the neighborhood where many families have lived for up to 50 years.

Neighbors, who have contributed toward a new coat of paint for the victim's home, seem particularly anxious to hush up all comment on the shooting incident. "I don't want to talk about it," said one woman as she stepped into her front door, "I don't think anybody does."

One man stood in the doorway of his brown shingle house just several doors from the site, looking over his shoulder while puffing away at his pipe, obviously ill at ease on the subject of the murders.

He characterized one of the victims as a very good neighbor, adding that the neighborhood had "never had any problems before." As the questioning about the incident grew more detailed, the man grew visibly more uncomfortable, sucking harder on his pipe and pawing at the floor with his feet.

The man became indignant when asked if he had heard the shootings. "Naturally, I live here," he declared, muttering "that's all" as he receded into the darkness of his living room.

A middle-aged woman in a bright print nightgown answered the door diagonally across the street from the shootings, but would only say that she heard shots and saw police cars, but that she knew no details.

She said the neighborhood was "very upset" about the incident and that they stayed inside their homes for several days, but then everything returned to normal.

A group of ten-year-old boys seemed the most willing to talk. They commented that they like to play in the neighborhood.

"Sometimes we go down to the railroad tracks to find spikes," one volunteered. The children said that their parents had placed no restrictions on their play outside in recent weeks, but when one mother spied her son talking to a reporter, she called him over and ordered him not to answer any questions