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.