Thursday, June 20, 2024
Police search for shells from a shooting early Sunday in Central Square. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Police search for shells from a shooting early Sunday in Central Square. (Photo: Marc Levy)

One person was injured early Sunday in a shooting as Central Square nightclubs emptied, police said. The shots came at about 2:12 a.m.

The victim – a woman who was shot in the leg – was taken by ambulance as police cordoned off about a half-block of Massachusetts Avenue in front of the nightclub Monroe and searched for shells from multiple shots. A firearm, presumably the one used in the shooting, was found at 415 Massachusetts Ave., said Jeremy Warnick, director of communications and media relations for Cambridge police.

The victim’s injury “does not appear to be life-threatening at this time,” Warnick said.

A suspect has not been identified, he said.

A taxi driver who was at the scene at the time of the shooting said he heard eight or nine shots – the first six coming in rapid succession from a small-caliber weapon, and the remaining shots coming after a pause. There were hundreds of people on the street, ducking away from the sound of gunfire. “They were all running – they were running fast,” the driver said. “The club tonight was mobbed.”

He was able to circle and pick up a fare, he said, and passed by as he saw the victim, a clubgoer in a black dress, being treated by an officer. Gauze was wrapped around her left ankle, the driver said.

At about 2:50 a.m., police expanded the cordon, adding more police tape to keep late-night traffic off the avenue from Douglass Street to Lafayette Square. Part of Jill Brown-Rhone Park was cordoned off as well. At around the same time, one man was arrested for “interfering,” complaining that he only happened to stumble through the scene.

There was a massive emergency responder presence, including more than a dozen city and state police and medical vehicles. The taxi driver said he’d seen surprisingly little police presence when shots were fired, and that it took officers several minutes to arrive. The first officer on the scene had her gun drawn, he said.

A previous gunfire incident took place at around 2:14 a.m. May 15 in the public parking lot between Massachusetts Avenue and Bishop Allen Drive near such hotspots as The Phoenix Landing, The Middle East and Monroe. A conflict that began brewing inside a nightclub boiled over just as disgorged crowds went to to find their cars and head home, police said.

But the area has long had its dangers as clubs let out; two years ago, the police commissioner warned against a business owner running a 24-hour eatery nearby because “We’ve had issues because of two places operating in the area [where crowds] have gotten out of control.”

Saturday had seen a successful gun buyback run by community- and faith-based organizations, local police and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office in the parking lot of the Pentecostal Tabernacle, in the nearby Area IV/Port neighborhood; the shooting took place some 14 hours later. “I can’t stress this enough – too many people have lost their lives from gun violence in this community,” said Christopher Hope, of the Pentecostal Tabernacle, in explaining the gun buyback Monday to the City Council. “We do not have to stand by helplessly and wait for it to happen again.”