EAST BOSTON (CBS) — Residents were shaken up Thursday morning as they awoke to the news that two Boston Police officers were in extremely critical condition after a shootout in their quiet East Boston neighborhood.
One resident of the neighborhood told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens that “it was like a war zone.”
A shelter-in-place order was issued for that Orient Heights neighborhood overnight as officers locked down the area and got the scene under control.
The officers responded to a report of a person with a gun at 136 Gladstone Street, and were confronted by a man armed with an assault rifle and wearing a ballistic vest. That man, identified by Boston Police Commissioner William Evans as 33-year-old Kirk Figueroa, was shot and killed by police.
Hours after the shelter-in-place order was lifted Thursday morning, Gladstone Street was still closed and officers were going door to door in the neighborhood.
Mary Forte, who lives in the neighborhood, told WBZ-TV’s Chantee Lans that she couldn’t wrap her mind around what happened.
“It’s just very nerve-wracking,” she said. “I mean, I know people who have lived here for over 60 years, and they’ve always told me that it’s very safe, quiet here.”
John Hall, who lives nearby, came out to support officers when he heard about the shooting.
“I grew up here all my life, and it’s one of the best places around,” said John Hall. “That’s why I’m really shocked that this happened.”
Hall’s brother is a retired police officer.
“It’s just very hard to comprehend, so I felt like I had to give them something, a cup of coffee, because they’ve been out all night,” said Hall. “The officers that have been injured … they’re in my prayers.”
As the firefight began just before 11 p.m. Wednesday night, Eric Dicrescenzo and Jalisa Hopkins heard the first shots and found themselves trapped in their car just a few houses down from the scene.
“It was rapid,” said Dicrescenzo, describing the gunshots. “It wasn’t just like one at a time, like separated by seconds. ‘Pop, pop, pop, pop.'”
“At first, I didn’t understand,” said Hopkins. “Then I had him shut off the car, and I heard it, and I was like, ‘That’s gunshots.’ And then as soon as I said that, all the police started coming up the street.”
Another woman described SWAT officers running to the scene, telling those on the street to get inside.
“It gave me anxiety, I was in fear for my life,” Dicrescenzo said. “I don’t ever want to experience that again.”
One woman living in the neighborhood said her son is a police officer, and cried as she said that, had this shooting happened months earlier, her son could have been one of the officers responding.
“I’m disgusted and sickened by it,” the woman said of the shooting. “One of my sons is a Boston Police officer, and my other son is a Boston Police dispatcher, and we’re sick to death of this.”
Evans said the shelter-in-place order was issued as a precaution, and out of initial concern that there could be a second armed suspect.
“Any time you have somewhat of an active shooter incident, until you get there and you get the scene under control, you really don’t know what you have,” Evans said. “Just to be on the side of caution, we locked down the area.”
He thanked the neighborhood for understanding, and said authorities worked to get the word out about the order being lifted as soon as they could.
“I always apologize, you know, it’s not a pretty sight, but we were quickly able to realize that there was no threat and we got that out to all the residents,” he said. “And from speaking to the state reps who were here, they were able to get the message out to the community.”
The shooting happened not far from the Madonna Shrine on Orient Avenue.
Mayor Marty Walsh, who described the neighborhood as “quiet,” thanked those living in the area.
“The community of East Boston was very supportive of [the officers], because it was shocking for the neighborhood as well,” he said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports