Assaults continue near Southwest Corridor Park

May 29, 2009
By

JOHN RUCH

Man with baby robbed

SOUTH ST. AREA—A man carrying his baby on his chest was robbed at knifepoint by a teenager last week on Rosemary Street next to the South-west Corridor Park—the latest in a string of assaults along the southern stretch of the park in Jamaica Plain.

Two more robberies involving young suspects occurred the same week around the South Street Apartments housing development, which is near Rosemary Street. And three JP youths—allegedly associated with a gang called the Forest Hills Pistons—were arrested on gun charges on May 13 after a police chase that began in the housing development. Investigators have not said there is any connection between those incidents and Southwest Corridor crime.

The May 18 Rosemary Street robbery comes after two other recent crimes that led to a community meeting earlier this month about Southwest Corridor safety. On March 13, a man was severely beaten by a group of teens for no apparent reason on Carolina Avenue near the park. And on April 21, a 16-year-old boy was severely stabbed by a group of older teens on Anson Street, also with no apparent reason, after he saw them in the park and attempted to avoid them.

The earlier crimes raised complaints about police jurisdictional confusions and lack of community notification. The State Police investi-gate crimes that happen in the park, and the Boston Police Department (BPD) investigates crimes on city streets around it.

Neither of those crimes originally appeared in police incident reports the BPD provides to the Gazette. The State Police do not provide incident reports at all.

State Police Capt. Thomas Grenham notified the Gazette personally about the May 18 robbery. It also appeared in the BPD crime report.

But, Grenham said, the State Police computer system does not allow for JP crime reports to be selected and provided to the Gazette. The Gazette offered to take all crime reports for the entire State Police region and pick the JP incidents out, but it appears that the State Police system does not allow for that, either.

The Southwest Corridor Park is a narrow, linear state park that follows the MBTA’s Orange Line train line between the Forest Hills and Back Bay T Stations.

Corridor robbery

The May 18 robbery happened around 6:30 p.m. where Rosemary Street meets the Southwest Corridor.

The victim was walking his dog and carrying his baby on his chest when he was approached by an African-American boy estimated to be 15-17 years old, according to a police report obtained by the Gazette. The suspect pulled out a knife and said, “Give me your wallet.”

The victim replied that he was not carrying his wallet. The suspect then patted down the victim to make sure. The suspect then ran down Rosemary and disappeared in the back yard of a house.

Because the victim happened to not have any money, the crime is considered an attempted robbery.

The suspect was described as slim, about 5-feet-6-inches tall, wearing shiny sunglasses, a baseball cap and a black-and-white puffy jacket.

Other robberies

The other two robberies were reported on St. Rose Street, which wraps around two sides of the South Street Apartments. St. Rose and Rose-mary streets both connect with South Street within a half-block of each other, with Rosemary on the east side and St. Rose on the west.

One of the robberies happened on May 18 about two hours after the Rosemary Street crime. In that incident, two women were robbed of their purses at gunpoint.

The victims had walked from a South Street bus stop when they were stopped by a masked gunman at the intersection of St. Rose and View South Avenue, according to a police report obtained by the Gazette. The gunman demanded their purses. One victim handed her purse over immedi-ately, but the other victim hesitated. A second suspect then appeared and grabbed the other purse. Both suspects then ran down St. Rose toward South Street.

The suspect with the gun is described as an African-American man, 18-20 years old, wearing a white bandana over his face as a mask, along with a black baseball cap and a gray hooded sweatshirt. The other suspect is described as a light-skinned Hispanic man, 18-20 years old, with braided hair, wearing a light-colored baseball cap and a tan hooded sweatshirt.

In another robbery on May 17, an 18-year-old woman from Malden was attacked and robbed by three teenage girls at 19 St. Rose in the back of the South Street Apartments, according to a police report obtained by the Gazette.

The victim reported that she was in the area behind 19 St. Rose when she was approached by three girls, all about 14-16 years old. The girls began arguing with her, followed by a fight. The girls knocked the woman to the ground, punched her several times and stole a large bag. The victim was hospitalized after reportedly feeling light-headed.

BPD officers later found the victim’s eyeglasses and purse at the scene of the fight.

Gun arrest

The May 13 police chase that led to the arrest of three alleged gang members on gun charges began around 10 p.m. in a courtyard of the South Street Apartments, according to a police report obtained by the Gazette.

Plainclothes officers in an unmarked car saw a large group of people gathered in the courtyard, where “officers have made numerous drug and firearm related arrests” in the past, according to the report.

Noticing the police car, three people in the group began walking quickly down St. Rose Street. When officers got out of the car and dis-played their badges, the suspects began running while allegedly holding their waists—a sign that they may be carrying guns tucked into their pants.

After a foot chase, officers stopped the suspects on South Street in front of the housing development. A search of the chase area by a “ballistics sniffing” police dog found two handguns in the front yard of a house at 5 St. Rose. Officers used a heat-sensing machine to deter-mine that both guns allegedly had been carried by someone recently.

The recovered guns included a 7.65mm pistol containing .32-caliber ammo in a high-capacity clip, and a .22-caliber derringer. Both guns allegedly were cocked, meaning they needed only a slight touch on the trigger to fire.

The suspects arrested were Christian Cordero, 21, of 15 Walk Hill St. in Forest Hills; Rob F. Pena, 20, of 55 Waterman Road in Woodbourne; and a juvenile, also from Forest Hills. They were all charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammo; possession of a high-capacity ammo device; trespassing; and disturbing the peace.

According to the police report, all three suspects are allegedly “associated” with the Forest Hills Pistons, a gang with members in South Street Apartments and other areas. Gang members allegedly wear clothing with the logo of the Detroit Pistons professional basketball team.

Cordero and Pena were on the scene of a previous firearm-recovery incident at 19 St. Rose, according to the police report, which did not give a date for that incident.

The report also alleges that the juvenile was on the scene of a February shooting incident at English High School’s bleachers, where a JP man allegedly accidentally blasted his own leg with a sawed-off shotgun.

BPD reports show that Cordero was arrested twice last year on Class D drug possession charges, once on Rockvale Circle and once at his home address.