A local man was severely beaten by a group of youths on March 13 on Carolina Avenue in an apparently motiveless attack that he suspects might have been a gang initiation.
Trevor Bayard-Murray, 38, suffered a broken nose and other injuries from the teens, who did not steal any of his personal valuables in the early-evening beating. The teens pulled up in two cars, got out and quickly attacked him, he told the Gazette.
“I was covered in blood,” said Bayard-Murray, adding that bloodstains remained last week on the sidewalk in front of 135 Carolina at the intersection with Newbern Street.
He expressed frustration with being told by the State Police—who are investigating the beating apparently under a mistaken idea about jurisdiction—that the attack was probably a mugging.
“My wallet was not taken. My watch was not taken. My cell phone was not taken,” said Bayard-Murray. “I’m not so sure it was a mugging. I think it’s more. I think there’s something else going on.”
“I thought it was some sort of initiation,” he said.
Some acquaintances have also suggested a possible hate crime because Bayard-Murray is gay. Carolina Avenue was the scene of homophobic graffiti on a vehicle sporting a gay-pride sticker in 2007. But, Bayard-Murray said, he doubts it was a hate crime.
“I don’t think so. I wasn’t wearing my boa,” he joked.
Bayard-Murray said a neighbor reported hearing of a similar motiveless beating in the area last year, but he could not confirm the third-hand report.
After twice telling the Gazette that there was no record of the crime, and stating that they would not release a police report even if they found one, the State Police finally confirmed the attack on Bayard-Murray.
“The only thing we can comment on [is] the incident occurred. It is being investigated,” said State Police spokesperson Sgt. Popovics, who did not give his first name.
The Boston Police Department (BPD) apparently handed off the investigation to the State Police under the mistaken assumption that the attack happened on the nearby Southwest Corridor Park, which is state-owned. Bayard-Murray said he recently filed a report with BPD as well, adding that he had trouble convincing a desk sergeant that the attack happened on a Boston city street.
The local E-13 Police Station community service office could not immediately be reached for comment about whether there have been any similar incidents.
State Rep. Liz Malia, who lives nearby on Child Street, expressed unhappiness with the police jurisdiction confusion in the case and said she will look into it. Malia noted that BPD and State Police share jurisdiction on the Southwest Corridor in any case. The State Police are supposed to provide crime statistics at the regular meetings of the Parkland Management Advisory Committee—a group originally formed largely because of the lack of such crime information, she noted.
Bayard-Murray was attacked while walking on the Friday evening to meet friends at a Centre Street restaurant. He indeed walked first on the Southwest Corridor Park’s path, but around 7:15 p.m. left it to head up Carolina Avenue—an area he is familiar with.
At that point, two cars “filled with teenagers” pulled up quickly and parked on the street in front of him. All of the teens got out—a group he estimated at five to eight people, mostly young men with one young woman. He said he presumed the teens were headed to some sporting event at the nearby English High School.
One of the youths, who appeared to be slightly older than others—possibly 19 or 20 years old—approached Bayard-Murray, who was smoking a pipe.
“He smiled at me and asked me who I was and where I was going,” said Bayard-Murray. “They came over and asked me about the pipe,” as well as what he was smoking in it.
Bayard-Murray said he answered politely, saying he knows to be respectful to youths from his work as an after-school program tutor. After a brief conversation, he moved on.
Then the youth “pulled me from behind and sucker-punched me,” Bayard-Murray said. He said he fell to the sidewalk, and the youth kicked him a couple of times.
“It stopped, but then I got more,” Bayard-Murray said. After a pause of about 30 seconds, the kicking resumed, with at least one other youth joining in. “It wasn’t the whole gang of them,” he said.
Besides the broken nose, Bayard-Murray also suffered a cut to his eye that required stitches, a concussion and bruising all over his body. His clothes were ripped.
“The blood is still there,” he said of the spatters and smears on the sidewalk.
Bayard-Murray was taken by ambulance to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where a state trooper interviewed him. The trooper said the area was searched for the suspects, but no one was found, Bayard-Murray said. The trooper also expressed the opinion that “it was a simple mugging attempt,” Bayard-Murray said.
Besides the fact that nothing was stolen, Bayard-Murray said, there were other signs that the youths were not simply looking for an easy mugging victim or the settling of some argument.
He said the car drivers appeared familiar with the area, pulling over and parking “deliberately” with the youths getting out quickly in what seemed like “choreography.”
“It wasn’t like the kids were [already] there,” he said.
He noted that it was it was still daylight on a relatively visible spot that made it risky for the attackers. Also, Bayard-Murray noted, he was walking alone, but was alert and aware of his surroundings, not wearing an iPod or a similar distracting—and mugger-tempting—item.
Bayard-Murray also pointed out that the brief conversation remained polite and calm, so that the attack at least did not result from any obvious argument. He said he did not recognize any of the youths.
He said he originally had no intention of contacting the media. But, he said, he changed his mind after friends and neighbors expressed “outrage” over the attack and the State Police attitude to it.
“Had I known this sort of stuff was happening in JP, I would have taken a different route,” Bayard-Murray said.
There have been no physical attacks reported on Carolina Avenue in recent years in incident reports provided to the Gazette by BPD. How-ever, BPD regularly provides incomplete reports. The handful of major crimes reported on the street in recent years are mostly burglaries of houses and cars.
The area in and around English High at 144 McBride St. is the scene of regular significant crime reports, both during and after school hours. On March 4, a juvenile was arrested there on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. In February, a local man alleg-edly shot himself accidentally with a sawed-off shotgun while hanging out on the school’s football field bleachers.