Boston police arrested two suspects connected to a brazen Saturday morning shooting in Dorchester that left eight people with non-life threatening injuries, authorities said.
Officers responded to multiple gunshots in the area of 10 Talbot Ave. at 7:43 a.m. just as people were celebrating the J’ouvert parade, which happens before the Caribbean Carnival later in the day, Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox said. The shooting was not related to the parade, according to police, who said they recovered multiple weapons.
Officers stationed at the parade rushed toward the gunfire and started applying tourniquets to the wounded, Cox said. The investigation into the shooting is in its early stages, Cox said, but police believe two groups may have had some form of “altercation.”
“I just want to say to any bad actors who want to potentially come to any large gathering or crowd to do harm, that we have many, many officers out here and we will absolutely do all we can to make sure that you are arrested for disturbing any kind of the public’s peace,” Cox said.
Boston police spokesman Sgt. Det. John Boyle confirmed just before 5 p.m. that an eighth person had been shot and suffered non-life threatening injuries. Cox said earlier in the day that an eighth person may have been grazed by a bullet.
The shooting is not the first to occur during the Caribbean Carnival or J’ouvert celebrations in August. Multiple people were injured and one man was killed in 2015 in less than an hour during three separate incidents.
Dawnn Jaffier, 26, was shot just after 8 a.m. a block from the J’ouvert parade in August 2014 and was later pronounced dead at Boston Medical, the Herald reported at the time. And a man was shot in August 2022 during the second hour of the J’ouvert parade.
But parade organizers asked people Saturday to separate the festivities from the acts of violence. Boston Caribbean Carnival President Shirley Shillingford said the media often attaches violence to particular events.
“It was very, very difficult for me this morning to know that something occurred when we work so hard, so incredibly hard to put on something that is more of a family oriented event and peaceful,” Shillingford said while standing alongside Cox and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.
Wu said it is “always just heart-wrenching to hear that a treasured community event has been disrupted by acts of violence from those who had nothing to do with the event.”
“There’s absolutely no excuse for something that is open to the community and part of Boston’s culture and heritage to be talked about in this way because of the acts that were introduced,” the mayor said.
Wu and Cox planned to march in the second parade Saturday afternoon, which marks the 50th anniversary of the event.
Gov. Maura Healey has received “constant” updates on the shooting throughout the day, a spokesperson told the Herald.
Police were out in force around Talbot and Blue Hill avenues just before 10:30 a.m., hours after shots were fired. Law enforcement were walking up and down Talbot Avenue and appeared to be checking out the parking lot of an auto body shop near the intersection.
Talbot Avenue was littered with remnants from the parade and police had the street closed to vehicles at the intersection before 10:30 a.m.
Cox asked the public for help as the investigation into the shooting continues.
“If anyone has any video evidence and or evidence from their phone or just witnessed the events, we ask them to call B-3 detectives or if you want to remain anonymous, call 1-800-494-TIPS,” he said.
B-3 detectives can be reached at (617) 343-4712.
The annual Caribbean Carnival features two separate parades.
The first parade, the J’ouvert Parade, started at 6:30 AM on Talbot Avenue at Kerwin Street and proceeded up Blue Hill Avenue to the Circuit Drive Entrance for Franklin Park.
The second and main parade, the Caribbean Carnival, began at 1 p.m. on Warren Street at Martin Luther King Boulevard and proceeded on Warren Street to Blue Hill Avenue ending on Blue Hill Avenue at the Circuit Drive Entrance for Franklin Park.
Formation for the Carnival Parade occurs on Martin Luther King Boulevard between Warren and Washington streets.
Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said the scope of the tragedy “is mitigated only by the fact that no one was killed.”
“But we see, once again, the consequences of too many illegal guns in the hands of too many people willing to use them, with zero regard for anyone in the path of their bullets,” he said in a statement. “This happened against the backdrop of a city celebration, but also against the backdrop of a nation that cannot fashion a rational policy on reducing gun violence.”
City Council President Ed Flynn urged organizers to call off the rest of the day’s events.
“Based on the violence from this morning and not having enough police officers in the city, we should cancel it,” he told the Herald.
City Councilor At-Large Erin Murphy said she was praying for the victims and was grateful for the first responders.
“This is an event for children, on a Saturday morning, and it’s appalling that bad actors would visit violence and evil on it,” she said in a statement.