Monday, February 26, 2024

A fatal attack took place Wednesday evening on the New Street side of Danehy Park. (Image: Google)

The Cambridge man who died after a head wound Wednesday at Danehy Park was Paul Wilson, 60, said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan at a Thursday press conference at Cambridge police headquarters.

Law enforcement officials are asking for the public’s help in figuring out the reason for the attack, which did not seem to involve robbery, as Wilson was found with several possessions still on him, Ryan said. People are asked to step forward with information “no matter how inconsequential.”

The mystery of the death led officials to warn residents to be careful. “People should be exercising caution. We do not [know] whether this was random or targeted,” Ryan said.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan at a Thursday press conference held at Cambridge police headquarters. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Wilson lived nearby and was a frequent user of Danehy Park paths. Officials are looking for videos of the attack and hoping people have information if only because Wilson was distinctive: 6-foot-6, and wearing shorts despite the cold along with a red winter jacket, a hat and gloves. He frequently wore shorts, even to his Cambridge workplace.


Wilson’s body was found shortly before 6:48 p.m. on an asphalt path near the Danehy Park parking lot and dumpsters. A passer-by found the body, Ryan said. Police began their first canvass of the area while Wilson was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma at around 10:18 p.m. A baseball bat was found near Wilson’s body, but it was unclear if it was used in the attack on him; one of the canvasses turned up “items of interest” nearby in a location police consider a second crime scene.

Still, the park is considered extremely safe, officials said. The previous serious crime at Danehy was an aggravated assault in 2009, Cambridge Police Superintendent Steven DeMarco said, and police are stepping up patrols there – including undercover patrols – to ensure it stays safe.

Cambridge police live-streamed the press conference on Facebook, as it did for an April incident in which police struggled to take into custody a college student suffering a bad reaction to a drug.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Cambridge Police Department and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the District Attorney’s Office are investigating. They are encouraging people who were around New Street or Danehy Park between 6 and 7 p.m. Wednesday and may have noticed the victim to come forward.

People with information are asked to call Cambridge Police at (617) 349-3300. Anonymous reports can be left at (617) 349-3359; sent by text message to 847411 (begin your text with TIP650, then type your message); or by email by visiting