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LYNN — It was like something out of a nightmare when a friendly youth basketball tournament in Lynn turned into a mass shooting in August.
Ward 6 Councilor Fred Hogan said he heard 15-20 shots ring out as he was walking up to Warren Street Playground that Saturday night. Chaos ensued as more than 100 people at the tournament took off running in every direction to avoid the gunfire from two active shooters.
“We got everybody to safety,” said Hogan, a founding member of Lynn’s Stop the Violence initiative. “I saw a kid lying on the ground. I wanted to make sure he was all right and it wasn’t good at all. I took his pulse and (I thought) he wasn’t alive.”
When all was said and done, a man and a dog were dead, and three other people were shot, but later recovered from their injuries.
Authorities said Brandon Jesurum, 34, died after being shot in the head at close range. Witnesses told WCVB-TV that a man wearing a white mask stood over Jesurum and shot him three times.
The victim’s fiancée, Faye Bowdre, was left devastated. The couple were childhood sweethearts and shared a young son. She told The Item Jesurum was at the basketball court for an anti-violence rally that had taken place earlier in the evening and she later received a phone call that he had been shot in the head and didn’t make it.
“(It was) heartbreaking,” Bowdre said at Lynn District Court in August. “It’s so sad and unfortunate that this has happened and I’m here to have a voice for him because this was an unjust act. I just want the world to know that it’s a great loss that he’s gone.”
Bowdre was attending arraignments for Rogelleo Morrison, 43, of Lynn, and Luis Falcon, 25, of Dorchester, who were arrested in connection with the shooting a day after the incident.
The third suspect, Kenneil Hammond, 31, who prosecutors allege was the masked shooter, remained at large for nearly a month before he was arrested in New Jersey.
Prosecutors said there were two active shooters that night and allege Morrison was the unmasked shooter. Falcon allegedly served as the getaway driver. All three suspects are facing murder charges.
The shooting opened up a larger conversation about violence in the city. Stop the Violence’s sixth annual peace walk was held three weeks after the shooting and ended at Warren Street Playground.
The quadruple shooting at the playground was the event’s major focus, with Hogan saying there was no other place that organizers wanted to end the walk.
Warren Street Playground is one of the busier parks in Lynn and it had been revamped a month before the shooting. Ironically, the city’s $120,000 investment was aimed at making the park, which had developed a reputation for gang activity, safer for kids.
“We are tired of violence in our city,” Hogan said at the march. “We wanted to take back our park. We wanted to send a message that this can’t happen in our city anymore.”