Local Crime, News, Police/Fire

The grieving family of Romel Danis is still looking for answers

Mother of shooting victim Romel Danis, Pastora Silverio (left) is supported at her home by Jonathan Silverio and Yuleisi Silverio, both family members. (Jim Wilson)

LYNN — Pastora Silverio woke up to a mother’s worst nightmare on Saturday morning, when a neighbor knocked on her Washington Street apartment door and told her that her son had been shot and killed nearby.

Silverio said the neighbor came to her door at 6 a.m., four hours after the shooting took place. The man was working that night and passed by the scene.

“He said something happened,” Silverio said. “‘Someone shot three guys, I think your son is one of them.’ I said, ‘I cannot believe it.’ No, no, this didn’t happen to me. He said, ‘I’m so sorry, I think someone shot your son and someone told me he died.’”

Silverio said she rushed to the scene and tried to get to her son, Romel Danis. When the blanket was partially taken off of him, she recognized the clothes he had been wearing the night before to go to a party.

She said police held her back, keeping her from getting to him — on Monday afternoon, surrounded by family, she said she still hasn’t seen her son’s body, days after the shooting. She and family members said they haven’t heard much of anything on the investigation from authorities either.

Danis is the 25-year-old man who was killed in a triple shooting early Saturday morning on Lawton Avenue, just around the corner from where police had been responding to a loud music complaint at a party.

Police responded to the complaint around 2 a.m. when they heard gunshots around the corner and found Danis dead and two other men with gunshot wounds in the area of 65 Lawton Ave. Danis had been walking back with friends when the shooting broke out.

Silverio said while this was happening, she was sleeping. The single mother, who raised four boys — three sons and a nephew — works as a housekeeper in Boston, and had gotten home from work at 8:30 p.m.

Danis, who moved back in with her four months ago after living with his girlfriend for nearly three years, worked at a convenience store minutes away from their apartment on Munroe Street — he would usually work every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. then come home and play video games with friends or family.

But that night, Silverio said Danis told her after his shift at 9 p.m. that he had been invited to a party, but would only go for a little while and come home early. He left home at 10:30 p.m. — she fell asleep at 1:30 a.m. and then woke up to the knock on her door.

“My son, he is gentle,” Silverio said. “He is (a) light, funny, boy. I say boy because my son (was) 25 years old, but his face … looked like younger than 25. Everything I remember about him.”

Silverio said her son would laugh a lot, and would make everybody laugh.

He was a graduate of Lynn Vocational Technical Institute and wanted to be a computer graphic designer. His plan was to enroll at North Shore Community College in the fall to study graphic design.

His brother, Jhonny Bryan, 30, said Danis was just a clown. He said he could be yelling at Danis about something and he would just start joking around, trying to make him laugh.

Jonathan Silverio, Danis’ cousin, said he would say, “You can’t be so serious. You’re going to get a heart attack.”

Silverio came to Lynn from the Dominican Republic in 1994 when Danis was 3 years old. Danis and family had just come back from a vacation to the Dominican Republic a month ago — he was planning to go back in August before he started college.

While Danis was there he would, as a joke, pretend that he didn’t know Spanish, Bryan said.

The family is still looking for answers as no arrests have been made in the shooting.

The two other men, only identified by authorities as 22- and 23-year-old Lynn residents, were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with serious injuries — one of the men had life-threatening injuries but was later reported to be in stable condition. The other man has been released from the hospital, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

Jonathan said they’ve tried to find out what happened. Surveillance footage from a Lawton Avenue home obtained by the family appears to show two suspects committing the shooting and then fleeing the scene. Police arrive shortly afterward to tend to the victims.

Bryan said from the video, it appears that his brother wasn’t expecting the shooting.

“You know when you go somewhere and you feel some type of vibe, something might happen,” Bryan said. “He turned on the car, was walking to the car and the shots just went off.”

Family members said Danis didn’t have any problems with anyone. When you work 12 hours a day, Bryan said there’s not much time to socialize.

If they ever got a chance to talk to the people who committed the shooting, the family said they would ask why they did it.

He was a good kid, said Danis’ cousin Yuleisi Silverio, with so much to live for. She said arrests wouldn’t necessarily give them closure.

“At least we’ll know they’ll get to pay for something that they did, but at the end of the day, we’re still going to have that hole,” she said. “It’s not going to be the same. We all wake up and say, is this real? Is this real? Romel’s really gone.

“I swear, that’s the least person I would expect for this to happen to. He would be the last person and anybody would tell you how much of a good kid he is and what a good heart he has.”

The family has a gofundme page, “Romel’s Funeral,” set up and are trying to raise $15,000 for funeral expenses. So far, they’ve raised more than $3,500.

Yuleisi said they’re also planning to hold a fundraiser this Saturday from 3 to 11 p.m. on Lawton Avenue, where the shooting took place, but will have to switch venues if they don’t get their permits.

Half the proceeds will go to Danis’ mother and the other half will go to a yet-to-be determined youth organization that would keep kids off the streets. The hashtags to help raise awareness will be #JusticeforRomel and #EndGunViolence.

Donation buckets are also being distributed at local places in Lynn.

“We need to make something happen to stop the violence in our city,” Yuleisi said. “We want to make it into a positive. At this point, we have no other choice. Romel wouldn’t want us to keep crying.”

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