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Family seeks answers in Roxbury teen slaying

February 23, 2017 GMT

Devastated kin of a teen fatally shot Tuesday night in Roxbury remembered him as a gregarious “teddy bear” even as they sought answers in his killing.

Justin Depina, 19, was shot about 5:10 p.m. Tuesday at Dudley and Albion streets and died hours later. Cops focused their investigation later that night around a red Dodge Ram. An evidence marker was placed near it, and police were seen looking under the vehicle.

Depina’s death marked the fifth homicide of the year in Boston, cops said. No arrest had been announced as of last night.

“I’m looking for answers, I’d like to know what happened,” said Victorino Mendes, Depina’s uncle. “There’s no better guy.”

Depina’s sister, Cecily Depina, said, “He always had a smile on his face. He was a just a big teddy bear.”

She added that her brother was a “big family guy” who loved his mother’s Cape Verdean cooking and “had a special relationship” with his 8-month-old nephew, Lorenzo, who Justin had nicknamed “Larry.”

Justin Depina’s family and friends gathered at his Dorchester home yesterday afternoon, where inside, the slain man’s uncle, Mendes, said a lot of tears were shed.

Near the scene of the shooting yesterday, Depina’s friends gathered around a makeshift memorial of candles, flowers, stuffed animals and liquor bottles. Some shed tears while others paid their respect by lighting candles or kissing their fingers and then placing that hand on a posterboard emblazoned with the message: “The Good Die Young.”

A clerk at a corner store near where Depina was shot said detectives took the store’s surveillance footage in a hunt for evidence.

Ruth Mejia, 38, who works at a nearby hair salon, said about eight people were in the business when three shots rang out Tuesday afternoon.

“It was like something out of a movie. I’ve never seen something like that,” Mejia said in Spanish. “People just jumped to the floor for cover.”

Kiritson Sequeira, 20, said he has been Depina’s friend since middle school and enjoyed playing basketball with him or just going to a nearby park, where “you could talk to him about anything.”

Sequeira struggled to understand what could have led to his pal’s slaying. “It just really, really hurts. The streets is crazy. ... They don’t care anymore.”

But Sequeira acknowledged Depina had many friends from the neighborhood, where violence is an every day struggle.

“I’m not going to blame no one. But the community that we live in — that’s how it is. The system is just set up in a way that some people can’t get out.”