JP man charged in strip club shooting

August 17, 2012
By

Lived at eviction dispute house

A Jamaica Plain man is charged with assault with intent to murder in the shooting of two men inside a downtown strip club on Aug. 8.

Steve Gayle, 34, 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 also ran a video game tournament business called The Game Room. The company’s website at thegameroom.org describes Gayle as a single father of two who is disabled from being shot in a violent crime.

Gayle allegedly was still carrying a handgun that was cocked and ready to fire when he was arrested by Boston Police officers following the early-morning double shooting at the Glass Slipper on LaGrange Street. He allegedly also carried ammunition in a plastic bag inside a backpack.

Gayle is charged with armed assault with intent to murder; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; and unlawful possession of a gun and ammo. He was held on $250,000 bail, according to the DA’s Office. His attorney, Pamela Harris-Daley, did not return a Gazette phone call.

According to the DA’s Office, one of the shooting victims is expected to survive, while the other is in critical condition. Homicide investigators from the Boston Police Department and the DA’s Office have been called in due to “the gravity of the primary victim’s injuries,” according to the DA’s Office.

Gayle’s last known address was 3 Mendell Way in Egleston Square, 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 in a Gazette phone interview this week, 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.”

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 did not return a Gazette phone call.

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.”

Prior to the eviction, Gordon had owned the house since 1992. She previously told the Gazette that she had renovated it from its prior condition as an abandoned “crack house” and that she had found guns hidden inside it during the work.

Rebeca Oliveira contributed to this article.