Cops boost anti-gang patrols after double homicide in Brockton

By Maureen Boyle (Enterprise.com)
Jan 21, 2010

BROCKTON, MA — Extra teams of state and Brockton police officers hit the streets amid fears of escalating gang violence after two people were found shot to death in a Nilsson Street apartment Thursday morning.

A woman found the bodies at about 9 a.m. in a second-floor apartment at 52 Nilsson St. Relatives identified them as Maria A. DePina, 29, and her brother, Jorge DePina, 26.

Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said the visible police patrols should be a deterrent to possible retaliatory action by gang members in the aftermath of the slayings Thursday.
“We will do whatever it takes,” Cruz said. The extra patrols have been done in the past to quell tensions in the city when gun violence escalates.

The killings bring to four the number of homicides in Brockton so far this year.

Mayor Linda Balzotti said police are shifting patrols and will bring in extra officers on overtime if needed. She said she instructed police Capt. Emanuel Gomes, who is filling in for the chief who is on vacation, to do what it takes to fight the violence.
“I have instructed him to do what ever is necessary, do whatever it takes to crack down on this violence,” she said.

Investigators searched the apartment for evidence in the slaying of the brother and sister as the district attorney urged the crowd gathered on the street to step forward with information.

The district attorney said the second-floor rear door of the apartment appeared to have been kicked in when police arrived to find both victims dead. Ms. DePina was found close to the door and her brother was found about five feet away in another room, he said.
Ms. DePina’s 11-year-old son, who has special needs, was also in the apartment, apparently unharmed, and it was believed he did not witness the shooting. The child was taken from the scene by police.
Relatives and friends gathered along the street while investigators examined the crime scene, crying and praying.
DA Cruz at one point walked over to the mourners and onlookers and told them to get serious about stopping the violence and come forward with any information about who did the killing.
The victims’ father, Arlindo DePina, said he was sleeping when he got a call about the shooting and rushed to his daughter’s apartment. He said his daughter worked hard and had been employed in Randolph in a nursing facility.
“She was beautiful,” the father said. The siblings’ mother, Josefina DePIna, died in 2001.
Police rushed to the scene after neighbors called authorities to report a woman was banging on doors along the street, yelling for help.
“I heard a banging and someone at the door yelling, ‘I need help,’ ” said Niematu Davies, a neighbor.
Police cordoned off the area around the house and were keeping a close watch on the crowd, including some people who were suspected to be affiliated with gangs.
Cruz said it was not known how many suspects were involved in the shooting or why the two were killed.

“I think it’s important for people to come forward and help us do our job,” Cruz told reporters outside the house.

Nilsson Street is south of downtown, off Main Street in what is called the Campello section of Brockton.

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