Sunday, June 16, 2024

A gunfire incident that Cambridge police investigated in August 2021 is in court. (Photo: Marc Levy)

There’s been a conviction in an August 2021 gunfight in North Cambridge between two drivers, one who had children in his SUV.

Che Meranda, 31, of Boston, was found guilty last week by a Middlesex Superior Court jury of two counts of assault with intent to kill, assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of carrying a firearm and carrying a firearm while loaded, possession of ammunition, two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.

The decision was announced Tuesday by Cambridge police commissioner Christine Elow and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan. 

On Aug. 25, 2021, shortly before 6 p.m., police got multiple calls for gunshots around Pemberton and Middlesex streets, arriving to find Meranda’s bullet-scarred SUV.

Investigation showed Meranda and the other man, identified as Maurice Morris, crossed paths around Rindge Avenue and Clifton Circle, where police believed Morris fired first, aiming “multiple shots” at Meranda. The vehicles sped off, with the men shooting as they drove, said Jeremy Warnick, director of communications and media relations for Cambridge police. Meranda returned gunfire at Morris’ vehicle near Pemberton and Middlesex streets, about a half-mile away to the southeast. Several shell casings were found in the road. 

Meranda and the kids ran away from their bullet-scarred SUV on Middlesex Street “to try to seek shelter” from the gunfire, Warnick said in 2021. Meranda was identified from surveillance footage and witness testimony, according to Elow and Ryan.

Morris, of Brockton, is scheduled for trial Oct. 23 in Middlesex Superior Court. He is charged with carrying a loaded firearm without a license, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a firearm without an FID card, possession of ammunition without an FID card, armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a firearm and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.

“This type of gun violence cannot be tolerated in our communities. It is difficult to assess which is worse – that Mr. Meranda fired multiple rounds while his vehicle was traveling through a densely populated area during a time when many people were outside, or that he was engaged in a gun battle while his two small children were in the car. While incredibly, no one was struck, the risk that was created is staggering,” Ryan said.

Stronger gun laws are needed to this kind if violence, Ryan said. She has proposed creating a felony offense for a shooter who acts “without regard for the risk of serious bodily injury to another” but who shoots intentionally or recklessly and “hereby causes a substantial risk of serious bodily injury.” The bill “An Act relative to the reckless discharge of firearms” was filed in the Legislature in partnership with state Rep, Marjorie Decker.