DA: Accused shooter lived at controversial eviction house

August 8, 2012
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Steve Gayle, the Jamaica Plain resident charged in a double shooting at a strip club today, was a resident of a house at the center of a prominent eviction controversy that included the arrest of local state Rep. Liz Malia earlier this year, according to Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Jake Wark.

Gayle’s last known address was 3 Mendell Way, according to Wark. Homeowner Heather Gordon battled a bank’s mortgage foreclosure eviction there with the help of the local organization City Life/Vida Urbana, a fight that ended in June with her eviction, and with a protest at which Malia was arrested. Just hours before the downtown shooting, City Life held an Aug. 7 protest event at the shuttered house that featured Gordon’s handwriting projected on its walls.

Asked about Gayle by the Gazette on Aug. 13, Gordon said, “The house was built in 1920. Are you going to associate everyone who ever lived there with that address?” When asked to confirm that Gayle had resided there and under what situation, Gordon hung up.

It is unclear where Gayle has resided following the eviction.

Malia learned of the shooting from the Gazette and said she had met only Gordon during the eviction battle, not any other residents of the house.

“What a heartbreaker,” Malia said. “I feel bad for Heather.”

Gayle ran a business called The Game Room that arranged tournaments for players of the video games “NBA 2K12,” “Madden NFL 12,” and “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” according to the company website at thegameroom.org.

On the website, Gayle identifies himself as the single father of two children, and also as having a disability from having been shot in a violent crime.

Gayle’s attorney, Pamela Harris-Daley, could not immediately be reached for comment.

City Life’s Aug. 7 protest at 3 Mendell Way included a projection of Gordon’s handwritten letter to her mortgage lender complaining about unfair treatment. The projection was created by artist John Hulsey, who gained national media attention earlier this year for projecting similar letters onto a Bank of America building in the Back Bay.

Hulsey told the Gazette that it is “not fair that this [shooting incident] should eclipse Heather’s story” and that it “shouldn’t mask Heather’s struggle.”

Steve Meacham, City Life’s organizing director, told the Gazette that City Life worked only with Gordon and that he does not know Gayle’s connection to the property. Meacham said he does not think Gayle attended the Aug. 7 protest.

“The timing [between the protest and the shootings] is unfortunate, but the two stories are pretty unconnected,” Meacham said.

City Life Executive Director Curdina Hill could not immediately be reached for comment.

Rebeca Oliveira contributed to this article.