H Block: Where children are shot in a gang war that goes back decades

The Globe reports today that Gabriel Clarke, the 13-year-old choirboy shot at Humboldt Avenue and Homestead Street while walking to church last night, is in critical but stable condition.

His shooting is just the latest in an endless string of gun violence in an area just north of Franklin Park known as H Block because most of the street names start with H - Humboldt, Homestead, Harold, Harrishof, Holworthy - and in the area around the Bromley-Heath housing project in Jamaica Plain.

The H Block Gang and the rival Heath Street Gang have been shooting at each other - and at completely innocent bystanders since the 1980s. Children and teens who have nothing at all to do with the battling often wind up as victims as gang members just drive onto their rival's turf and start firing.

In 1988, 12-year-old Tiffany Moore was sitting on a mailbox at Humboldt and Homestead, talking to friends, drinking a Hi-C, when she was shot to death as part of the war.

On Halloween, 1994, Jermaine Goffigan, 9, was going through his trick-or-treat haul at Academy Homes when somebody, possibly seeking revenge for a shooting the night before at Bromley-Heath, shot him to death (the city named a vacant lot on Blue Hill Avenue Jermaine Goffigan Park; in 2002, Trina Persad, 11, was shot to death there).

In 2006, Herman Taylor, a teen with no known gang connections. was shot to death on Humboldt Avenue by a man who came up to him, started shooting and then kept shooting as Taylor tried to run away. A Heath Street gang member was convicted in 2009, but the Supreme Judicial Court last year overturned his verdict and ordered a new trial, in part because prosecutors used a rap video as part of their evidence, which the court ruled prejudicial.

In May, 2010, Jaewon Martin, 14, was shot to death at a Bromley-Heath basketball court, allegedly by H Block members out to shoot up their rivals' territory. His death signaled the end of a truce famously arranged by city officials between the two gangs.

The violence sometimes spreads outside the two areas. In September, 2011, an H Block associate who had moved to Readville was unloading groceries when he was shot repeatedly, apparently as part of an H Block feud with a gang based in Orchard Park. He survived. His alleged shooter spent 18 months in prison for his role in the murder of an H Block leader in 2006 - although nobody has ever been charged with the actual death.

Also, in 2012:

On Dec. 31, a man was shot to death on the porch at 131 Harold St.

On Dec. 26, a man was shot repeatedly in a drive-by on Homestead between Humboldt and Harold.

On Oct. 5, a man was shot in the shoulder on Homestead near Harold.

On Feb. 28, a man was found shot to death in a car outside 151 Homestead St.

On Jan. 27, a man on a bicycle was hit by a car and then shot by one of its occupants on Harold near Homestead.

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Comments

I remember an innocent young

I remember an innocent young woman in her 20's getting killed one night in her car at the intersection of Columbus and Centre, caught in the crossfire. I think it was either in the late 80's or early 90's. As that is a typical route for me, it seriously made me think about moving.

Blame

Every year they do this. Someone gets shot in the H-Block area or Heat area, and they bring up the whole rivalry. Only thing I find weird, is that they always but the blame on Heath vs H-Block. There are like 6 or 7 gangs that hate H-Block, and a dozen that hate Heat St, that shoot at each other on the regular...

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Blame?

OK, so 6 or 7 gangs hate H-Block for a reason? It's not that they sell more girl scout cookies than another neighborhood. It's because people from those neighborhoods continue rivalries and create new rivalries. Who cares who shoots up what neighborhood. The problem is that someone is shooting up any neighborhood.

Only thing weird to me is that people shoot up neighborhoods to begin with. Doesn't matter where they are from, it's weird.

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Good point. I never said they

Good point. I never said they had a good reason though. I never even said they had a reason. I could care less about the reason they hate each other, but I mean get the facts straight. Yeah Heath hates H-Block, but so does Mass Ave, OP, Lenox...All those idiots. BPD is going to single in on Heath street for these shootings, while the other fools go ahead and run around bustin' shots all over the place, lighting up choir boys and whatnot...It's like H-Block guy gets shot, BPD swarms Heath Street, while the guy who did it, who's from OP, and sitting there laughing his a** off.

How about we do something

How about we do something about violent people and gangs rather than blaming inanimate objects?

The War on Drugs has made it perfectly clear that attempting to ban one thing or another isn't going to make too much of a dent in criminal activity. If anything it creates a lucrative black market.

There is a major behavioral problem at the root of violence, gangs, and drug use. But that would be difficult to confront, so all the politicians latch onto the symptoms rather than the causes.

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Why do you frame it as an

Why do you frame it as an either or choice? How about we work on both the root causes and the guns at the same time, they're both a part of the problem. You don't read about too many innocent kids being targeted in drive-by stabbings. The fact that the shooter simply had to roll down the window and squeeze off a few rounds makes it a lot more likely to happen.

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Why don't we ban cars? They

Why don't we ban cars? They kill more people every year than guns and make drive by shootings possible.

Banning the means and methods does nothing to prevent intent. The reasons for the behavior and social condoning of violence behind the intent needs to be addressed.

Prohibition and the current War on Drugs went down the same road of let's make X illegal because X "makes Y a lot more likely to happen" and look how well that has worked out.

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I don't know you or what's in

I don't know you or what's in your heart, but I can't help seeing this whole "let's address the social issues only" line as a smokescreen. I don't think for a minute that the NRA or their political backers have any real interest in addressing social ills or mental health reforms. It's a transparent attempt to try and shift the argument away from their pet issue of unlimited gun sales. Everybody knows that guns are part of the problem, a very big part, and to try and talk around them is nonsense.

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Stop blaming heath street....

Stop blaming heath street.... That's not the only rival. Hblock and heath st ain't even beefing heavy y right now... It's hblock vs castlegate right u fucking idiots! They picked up old beef so stop blaming heath st. And look towards castlegate. Their feud is longer than heath st. Dumasses

@future marine... For the

@future marine... For the last time stfu! Mass ave isn't beefing wit hblock at the moment. Mass ave is beefing with highland idiot. Lenox don't give a Fuck bout hblock. They got they hands full with 1850. And o.p has beef wit hblock but its not heavy right now. Op got they hands full with dsp and my pledged vine and forest st. Like I said castlegate is their main enemy right now. I'm in the streets so I know what I'm talking about. I know for a fact castlegate is gunning for hblock. So leave heath st out of it. Adam g is going off of old reports. He has no idea what goes on in the streets. And castlegate and hblocks feud goes wayyyyy b4 heath st beef. Yall no nothing bout the streets

Huh

It's so interesting to have a forum for the anons to come forward and tell us this stuff (seriously, no sarcasm). Does BPD monitor these threads? Or, Adam, do you ever point them toward these discussions, in case there's new info here that BPD isn't in on? (I have no idea how good the BPD Gang Unit is or how a homicide investigation works, but as someone who gathers information for a living I'd hate to have a resource like this that *I* didn't know about).

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No clue, but ...

I suspect BPD gang officers, who are on the street, do know what's going on and who's fighting whom. After the latest shooting, every single gang officer on duty across the city (each district has officers assigned to gang duty), except for A-1 (no doubt busy at that Charlestown incident around the same time) was ordered to Homestead and Humboldt.

Police are Too Busy

They have to build dossiers on any and all white kids with dreadlocks seen outside the Lucy Parsons Center.

They don't have time to do similar surveilence on gangbangers who try to murder young kids walking to church.

Don't you understand? The future of our Nation is at stake!

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THATS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GANG

THATS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GANG MEMBERS ARE HIDING, INNOCENT PEOPLE GET SHOT. If the members weren't hiding they'd be getting shot. STOP HIDING AND COME OUT FOR THE SAKE OF THE INNOCENT PEOPLE IN UR NEIGHBORHOOD.

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The thing I find interesting

Is how many kids in these neighborhoods are outside playing.

I grew up (mostly) in safe, suburban neighborhoods, and parents kept their kids under lock and key as if they lived in a war zone. These kids actually live in a war zone, and they're out doing normal kid stuff in the streets. I don't get it.

Obviously I'm not victim blaming, kids should be allowed to be kids! It's just an observation.

It is most likely because if

It is most likely because if you grew up in a middle class suburb then kids were involved in activites for fun adnyouth interaction (ballet, karate, sports etc). Most kids in the inner-city do not have that luxury and live in tihgt quarters near each other so they are all outside playing. At times there may be a lack of supervision, but in many ways (aside from the vilonce) there is a very strong sense of community and people watch out for each others kids and older siblings watch over each other......BUT your observation is correct, coming from someone who knows both sides

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This kind of random violence

has been going on for 40 years or more,since at least the early 70s-late 60s. It centers naturally around projects. Why this effing country tolerated it for so long, and still does, is beyond me. Add to the fact the vast majority involved are living on various forms of public assistance, so yes, taxpayers are subsidizing these dysfunctional aholes who're incapable of living in an advanced, reasonably civilized society. If a half century of providing huge levels of public assistance, free education, free/almost free healthcare, free food, free this and that hasn't solved the problem, it's time to try something new and different. The people responsible LAUGH at the average non-violent,sane individual who goes to school, graduates, makes something of themselves, pays taxes, is civilized and productive. We're chumps and b*tches to them, to be robbed, beaten up, pistol whipped, raped, whatever they feel like doing. We don't hesitate to put down rabid animals, many have no problem with aborting a fetus 1 day from delivery, but balk at putting down rabid human beings. I don't grasp where they're coming from.

im not telling you why

Why castlegate is out to get hblock? Lmao if u don't know then its not for you to know. Like I said I'm I. The streets heavy I know what im talking about ! I'm not speaking any further on this issue. So all you so called experts keep trying to point the wrong finger and letting the real enemy get away. Bpd are fools. You can't stop the violence. It takes another 13 yr old kid to get murder for you to send all those officers to the area. And now the media will cover the story and speak unknown facts. Bishop Perry will be on the news to get his unholy shine acting like he knows what's happening. Then then Ed Davis will clamp down on ALL Boston hoods punishing those who have nothing to do with the crime. A sweep is coming soon so be warned. You heard it from me first. Anyone criminal with a record will be targeted in the sweep. Tuesday! ..... If u don't know what that means then u ain't from the streets! And mumbled menino will target wrong areas. Crime goes back to normdl etc.... Boston is fucked. Gangs and criminals are everywhere. Dukan fucked up! All my niggaz is free!!!! Lol but yall know nothing. If u want REAL info then ask for the infamous anonymous!! I am near always wen u need me. Farewell!

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