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‘A monstrous event’: Prosecutors say a 13-year-old boy was murdered in broad daylight by ‘armed career criminal’ now facing fentanyl charges

Csean Alexander Skerritt appears in a mugshot

Csean Alexander Skerritt is accused of shooting and killing a 13-year-old boy on Jan. 29, 2023.

An alleged career criminal has been charged in connection with the recent shooting death of a 13-year-old boy in Boston, authorities say.

Tyler Lawrence was shot multiple times in a “targeted” shooting outside of his grandparents’ residence in the Mattapan neighborhood in the middle of the day on Jan. 29, the Boston Police Department said. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime.

On Sunday, Feb. 5, Csean Alexander Skerritt, 34, was arrested by federal agents on unrelated fentanyl distribution charges, according to the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office. A press release from the agency says the defendant also went by the name of “Shizz Grimmy.”

On Monday, Skerritt was also charged with Lawrence’s murder in an arrest warrant, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said in a separate press release. The defendant was additionally charged by county authorities with “being an armed career criminal level III, and various firearm and ammunition charges,” the DA said.

The defendant is still in federal custody on the unrelated drug charges, the DA’s office added. His arraignment on the charges related to Lawrence’s late January murder has yet to be scheduled.

“After leaving the scene in Mattapan Sunday I went home and watched football with my son, who is also 13,” Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in comments reported by Boston NBC affiliate WBTS. “That’s something this family will never be able to do with Tyler, and the explicit tragedy of that reality is shattering. This is an immeasurable loss for the Lawrence family and for the city.”

During a Monday press conference at Boston Police headquarters, Hayden did not say what evidence led prosecutors to tie the alleged drug dealer to the young boy’s tragic shooting.

“There’s still a lot we do not know about this terrible crime,” the DA said. “But we do know a 13-year-old was gunned down on a city street on an early Sunday afternoon, and we know a monstrous event has shaken our city to its core.”

Hayden added that Skerritt is well known to local law enforcement due to his criminal record. He said the investigation was ongoing.

“Today is about a measure of accountability and a measure of justice that we hope will begin to continue solidifying the healing process,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said, lamenting that the victim’s community had been “robbed” of seeing him grow up.

“To the Lawrence family and to all of Tyler’s loved ones and the community, I am so sorry for your loss,” the mayor said. “We know that the space, the pain, the hole in your lives that has been ripped apart won’t be filled by any announcement or press conference. We know that Tyler was a shining young child at 13 years old with a whole life ahead of him that so many have been pouring into and were excited at every step of the way to see his growth and all that lay ahead.”

A hearing on Skerritt’s federal drug charges is currently slated for Feb. 14. The defendant would likely be arraigned on the murder and gun charges soon after that, Hayden said.

The shooting has resulted in a palpable sense of heartbreak and scorn among Bostonites.

“Tyler Lawrence was well-loved and a valuable member of our Coakley community,” Norwood Superintendent of Schools David Thomson said in a statement last week. “His bright smile was on display every morning, and he made friends wherever he went. He was an avid basketball player, and enjoyed sports and being outside.”

“The arrest of the alleged perpetrator follows expressed outrage from a community besieged by violence that is disproportionate to the rest of the city,” New Democracy Coalitiion founder Rev. Kevin Peterson said. “Tyler Lawrence’s life was snatched away within the boundaries of what many in the Black neighborhoods call a triangle of death.”

[image via Boston Police Department]

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