A Boston police officer shot and killed a man early Saturday morning after the man allegedly stabbed another officer.
“This is a reminder of the dangers officers face everyday and how quickly events can unfold when officers respond to a call,” said Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long from near where the Dorchester shooting took place just a few hours earlier.
Officers responded to 22 Glendale St. around 2:40 a.m., near the street’s intersection with Hancock Street, for a report of a man “screaming,” Long said. The man was later identified as Richard Ortiz, 48, of Revere.
Responding officers allegedly saw Ortiz wielding a knife in the street. The facts of the encounter were thin in the briefing, but the police say that the man ended up stabbing one of the officers “in the upper torso.” Another officer shot the man who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two officers were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Long did not specify how a second officer was injured, but it’s common for Boston Police to send any officer who shoots someone to the hospital for monitoring.
The shooting and stabbing will be investigated by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, said DA Kevin Hayden.
Around 11 a.m., a somber and angry group of people had gathered around the scene. About 40 minutes later, the grievers were gone, but a small memorial of candles remained on the sidewalk, with one section of neglected plastic police tape in the gutter in front of them.
Those who emerged from the backyard behind the house indicated in the police call, where the voices and sounds of a gathering remained, declined to speak about what had gone down.
Multiple neighborhood residents — all declined to give their names — reported waking in the early morning to the sounds of gunfire. One woman said she heard around five gunshots ring out. She was the first of the neighborhood residents to attribute the incident in part to rising temperatures bringing more nighttime activity.
“It’s the city. It’s getting hot,” she said. “People are drinking. People are arguing.”
Another woman, broom in hand from a neighborhood cleanup event, said she heard maybe “four pops” in the night. The 30-year resident’s expressed love for the neighborhood, which she said has often been “kind of the American dream” in action.
When she moved there, she said, the neighborhood was primarily first-generation immigrants who worked very hard and put their children through school. Many of those children, she said, returned with degrees and professional jobs and elevated the neighborhood from a downturn in the 1990s, when she said it was hit hard by drug problems.
She said the shooting “was unusual for the neighborhood … especially with the police involvement” and that when she walked down Glendale on Saturday morning between Payson — where a police camera on a light pole has at some point been removed and wires dangle freely in the housing — and Hancock streets, she found people “grieving in the greenhouse.”
Elected officials and concerned groups issued statements on the event throughout Saturday.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Boston Police officers that were either stabbed or at the scene of last night’s incident, that they make a full and speedy recovery, as well as all the families and neighbors impacted by this traumatic event,” wrote City Council President Ed Flynn in a statement. “Violence against police officers is unacceptable. Thank you to the men and women of BPD for your bravery last night, and the work you do on behalf of the residents of Boston each and every day.”
“I have been briefed on last night’s tragic incident & will ensure transparency as the investigation develops,” Mayor Michelle Wu tweeted. “I’m praying for a speedy recovery for the officers involved. My thoughts are with their loved ones & everyone impacted by the trauma of violence.”
Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association president Larry Calderone wrote that “Over the last several months, we’ve had officers attacked, shot and stabbed. The disregard for officers’ safety has never been higher.”
“Enough is enough, Boston Police Officers deserve better,” he continued. “We’re down over 400 cops. Doing more with less remains a recipe for disaster. We need to hire more officers and we need to do it now before another officer gets hurt, injured, or, God forbid, worse.”