By John Lynds
Friends, family and residents gathered on the corner of Marginal and Orleans Streets Monday evening to mourn the shooting death of an East Boston teen who, by all accounts, was a good kid on the path to a successful life.
“When he graduated from high school, he was so proud,” said BCYF Director Nicole DaSilva, who knew the victim Duncan Ketter from his time at the Paris Street Community Center. DaSilva showed a photo of the 19-year-old on graduation day from Madison Park dressed in his cap and gown. On his cap he wrote the words, “A young educated black man”.
Ketter, who was hailed a hero by local media three years ago after saving a man who fell off an MBTA platform at North Station, was found Sunday afternoon around 4:41 p.m. suffering from a gunshot wound on the corner of Marginal and Orleans Streets, only a few blocks away from where he lived. Ketter was transported to an area hospital were he was pronounced dead.
“He was a happy soul, he was never angry, he was always happy,” said a friend of Ketter’s at Monday’s vigil. “While we are all crying, he’s up there smiling. He always tried to make us laugh so we should remember those times. He loved all of you. All of you here, he loved you. Know that.”
Ketter’s death became the first homicide in Eastie this year. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans was shaken by the homicide and said he was hoping the neighborhood would end 2017 without an incident after several teens were murdered in the community a few years back.
While the community mourned Ketter’s death Monday, Boston Police Homicide Detectives and members of the Boston Police Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested Thorus O’Brien, 18, of Brockton in connection with the death of Ketter. O’Brien has been charged with murder. O’Brien was arranged Tuesday in East Boston District Court.
“I want to commend my officers and detectives for their outstanding and ongoing commitment to keeping people safe and the fast-moving investigation that preceded the swift arrest of the suspect wanted in connection to this case,” said Commissioner Evans. “Thanks to their hard work, a dangerous individual was taken into police custody less than 24 hours after the incident. Without a doubt, an arrest like this makes our city a safer place and, hopefully, sends a loud, clear message that gun violence will not be tolerated in our city and anyone who thinks otherwise will be dealt with swiftly and severely.”
According to friends Ketter was never involved in drugs or gangs and was enrolled in the Franklin Institute of Technology while working at a local rental car facility to help support his family. Ketter was determined to be a role model for his toddler-aged brother and show him the right path through hard work and education.
In 2014 he received local and national attention for jumping onto the tracks at North Station to save a man who had fallen off the platform. His heroic actions earned him an invitation to the Maury Povich show.
“I mean if somebody’s in danger, come on, you gotta do something, you can’t just stand there, you gotta break the rules, if somebody’s in danger you gotta break the rules, you have to break the rules to save that dude,” Ketter said at the time. “I was just thinking about that dude all night, I was trying to sleep and I couldn’t sleep.”
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Ketter’s family at https://www.gofundme.com/4uaz6zs.
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s Neighborhood Trauma Team has also reached out to Ketter’s friends and family to help them through this difficult time. The Paris Street Community Center will also host EBNHC’s Trauma Team at 3 p.m. at Paris Street.
The Boston Police Department continues to actively review the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is asked to call Homicide Detectives at (617) 343-4470.
Community members wishing to assist this investigation anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1(800)494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463). The Boston Police Department will stringently guard and protect the identities of all those who wish to help this investigation in an anonymous manner.