AP NEWS

Mayor: Suspects who shot 6-year-old are ‘cowards’

April 4, 2017 GMT

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh today declined to respond to criticism by the mother of a 6-year-old boy shot in Roxbury Sunday night and by rival mayoral candidate Tito Jackson,

“I went to visit a 6-year-old boy that was shot in the hospital on Sunday night in Boston. It was sad,” Walsh said today when asked about the mother’s statements yesterday that the mayor is “a liar” for saying the boy’s father had told police that he believed he was the target of the shooting. “The person who did that, the people who did that, are cowards, that’s pretty much all I can say about that.”

The mayor said he had no direct message for the boy’s mother, adding, “she’s having a difficult time, obviously, her son was hurt, she’s emotional.”

The boy’s mother declined further comment when reached by the Herald this morning.

Jackson, a Boston city councilor, today called it “unacceptable” to blame the family and the community for not coming forward in the wake of the shooting.

“In this situation, there are many non-fatal shootings, in particular non-fatal shootings of young people that have not been solved,” Jackson said this morning on Boston Herald Radio. “It is the job of the mayor and his administration to ensure that this family is safe, to ensure that this family is supported and has all of the services they need.”

The 6-year-old is in stable condition after he was shot in the lower back Sunday night while walking home with his father on Copeland Street in Roxbury. Police Commissioner William B. Evans said the boy’s father was the target and has not cooperated fully with police, and both he and the mayor have appealed to the public for more information as cops hunt two 18-20 year old men thought to be responsible.

Jackson last night told the Herald it’s “unacceptable” to blame the community and added this morning, “this is a family who was walking home, they are the victims and at no time should a victim be put on trial.”

Court records show the boy’s father has a lengthy criminal record, including a guilty pleas to gun charges, multiple probation violations, and at least 3 stints at MCI-Cedar Junction.

“It is very unfortunate that instead of focusing on the fact that this is a family that was victimized, there has been a turn to examine who was walking down the street,” Jackson said. “Regardless of who was walking down the street, they deserve to have safe passage, they deserve to be able to live in our city and live safely.”

Asked about Jackson’s criticisms this morning following an event at a Roxbury school, Walsh said “I don’t have a response to that.”

Jackson, who will hold a public hearing on addressing violence in the city tonight, has accused the Walsh administration of lacking a comprehensive plan to reduce violent crime.

“I believe we have the hardest-working most talented police in the United State,” the District 7 councilor said. “The questions I have are around the Walsh administration giving them the resources, a comprehensive violence prevention plan, (and) comprehensive trauma services.”