HYDE SQ.—Kenneth “Black” Soto, a 19-year-old Jamaica Plain resident who had been involved with the Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) since he was 6, was stabbed to death in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at 451 Centre St. on Oct. 16.
Soto “was in the Task Force office last week, celebrating finishing high school and applying to college,” Hyde Square Task Force Executive Director Claudio Martinez told the Gazette.
“He was a lively, positive kid, maybe with a chip on his shoulder that every teen growing up in Hyde Square has to have to survive,” Martinez said. “Kenny by no means would have been considered a member of a gang or a high-impact player,” he said.
According to a press release from the Boston Police Department, Soto was involved in an altercation in the parking lot of the 24-hour convenience store at around 4 a.m. on Oct. 16. When police arrived on the scene, Soto was lying on the floor of the 7-Eleven store in a pool of blood, suffering from an apparent stab wound to the chest, with a group of people administering first aid,” according to the police report.
BPD spokesperson Elaine Driscoll told the Gazette that no arrests have been made and that she does not know what motivated the fight.
While Martinez said he does not know for sure what happened that night, “The story on the street is they were at a club or a party in Providence or around there. Kenny exchanged some words with someone, they followed him home, and when he got out of the 7-Eleven, they were waiting.”
Soto was transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Soto, a Mozart Street resident, was not involved with the ongoing gang feud between Mozart and Boylston streets gangs, Martinez said.
Soto first became involved with HSTF, a youth advocacy and enrichment program, when he started attending the task force-run after school program at the age of 6. He participated in other HSTF programs and played baseball in the neighborhood’s Regan Youth League, Martinez said.
Soto was close to many HSTF youth and staffers. “It has been a difficult couple of days. We are trying to remind them that this is not a time to question the worth of what we are trying to do,” Martinez said, adding that its easy to imagine that the area would be much more violent if it were not for the organizing and programs in place.
Martinez said HSTF is working with the Boston Public Health Commission and local health agencies to make sure trauma response resources are available for staffers and youth.
As of early this week, Soto’s family was still finalizing funeral arrangements, Martinez said. He said any public memorial for Soto would be organized in close consultation with the family.