False alarm suspected in Jan. 21 shooting story

February 4, 2011
By

Rebeca Oliveira & Sandra Storey

Web Exclusive

Boston Police are saying this afternoon that a man who said he was shot in front of the Elis Mendell School on School Street in Egleston Square on Jan. 20 was not telling the truth.

Boston Police Department (BPD) spokesperson Elaine Driscoll told the Gazette on Jan. 24, that the accounts of what happened by the man who admitted himself to Faulkner Hospital last Thursday with gunshot wounds and his companions’ versions turned out to be “inconsistent.” She said, “We do not believe the shootings occurred on School Street in front of the school.”

BPD is still investigating the incident, including the possibility that the gunshot wounds were self-inflicted, Driscoll said.

On Jan. 21, BPD representative Jill Flynn told the Gazette a man reported being shot across the street from the elementary school in a drive-by shooting during school hours.

According to Boston Public Schools (BPS) spokesperson Matthew Wilder, the principal of the Mendell School, Julia Bott, planned on sending letters home to parents on Friday, but was unable to do so because of the snow-caused school closure.

“Due to reports on the Gazette [web site] and Patch, she [Bott] got lots of calls [from parents],” which led to her decision to make automated phone calls to parents on Sunday, stating that the Jan. 21 police report was erroneous.

The Gazette proceeded to contact BPD on Jan. 24 after receiving several phone calls from Mendell School parents relaying that information.

“We don’t want people not sending their kids to our school, thinking this is a violent neighborhood,” Ellen Pierce, a Mendell parent, told the Gazette on Jan. 24.

The 19-year-old man from Hyde Park originally told police a gray SUV driving on School Street toward Washington Street pulled up alongside him before pulling forward. Three or four shots were fired from the driver’s side at about 1:30 p.m., the man told police.

Police obtained a search warrant for the man’s van and recovered drugs, Driscoll said.

Wilder said the school went into safe mode on Thursday afternoon. Safe mode means that no one is allowed in or out of the building and that the school day continues as normal.

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