Jamaica Plain Man Killed in Shootout
Three Officers Injured in Exchange; Area Residents Meet Flynn to Air Concerns
BOSTON--A Jamaica Plain man is dead after a weekend shootout with undercover police that also left three officers injured, two of them with gunshot wounds.
Hector D. Morales Jr., 19, died at Boston City Hospital. Police said he exchanged gunfire with two plainclothes officers on routine patrol near Egleston Square in the city's Jamaica Plain section on Saturday.
The incident, which occurred at about 9:20 p.m., remains under investigation by the district attorney's office and the police department.
A second suspect also is being sought.
A group of about 16 Jamaica Plain residents met last night behind closed doors with Mayor Raymond Flynn and Police Commissioner Francis Roache to air concerns about police conduct in the incident. A spokesperson for the residents, Pablo Calderon, said Roache and the residents will meet again tonight.
Roache said yesterday that police would launch an investigation into the incident and he had appointed Deputy Superintendent Roy Hechavarria as a liaison between the community and the police department.
Police said two plainclothes officers were outside their unmarked car near Washington and School Sts. when Morales opened fire with a shotgun Saturday. One of the officers was struck on the head and the other in the hand.
The two returned the fire, hitting Morales in the abdomen.
Roache said Sunday night that the officers were acquainted with Morales.
Both injured officers were taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital. The first was released yesterday and the second was undergoing surgery to his hand.
Their names have been withheld in accordance with police policy.
A third officer, who police said was hit in the face by a suspect with the butt of a gun, was hospitalized for exhaustion and hyperventilation. He also has been released.
Roache said the third officer saw the incident and chased another suspect through the neighborhood.
Morales' gun and several spent shells have been recovered and are being examined by ballistics experts, the police said.
Police action in the incident has apparently angered some in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
Friends of the victim told reporters yesterday afternoon that they were concerned that police may have shot Morales repeatedly even after he had been critically wounded.
Roache, however, told reporters yesterday that the officers might have thought Morales still had a gun in his hand. Police also said that the officers' wounds were not serious only because birdshot pellets, instead of heavier ammunition, were used in the shotgun.
Calderon, president of the Egleston Square Neighborhood Association, said Sunday after the meeting, "`We do want a full investigation and an independent autopsy on Hector [Morales]."
Of the meeting itself, Calderon would only say, "We had a successful conversation with him [Flynn] just now and with the [police] commissioner."
He said residents were planning to release a full statement later.
Roache said the police internal affairs department, the homicide unit and an independent group would probe the shooting.
He described the meeting as "very cordial."
Asked if the incident would erode community relations with the police, Roache said, "It's a step backward, but I hope we can go forward. In the next few days we're going to get out there again and try harder."