‘Evil intent’: Accused drug dealer charged with murder of 13-year-old Tyler Lawrence, DA says

BOSTON — An accused drug dealer who was in court on fentanyl distribution charge Monday has been charged with murder in the fatal daytime shooting of 13-year-old Tyler Lawrence as he walked along the street in Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood, authorities said.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Csean Alexander Skerritt, 34, who faces a first-degree murder charge in Lawrence’s murder on Jan. 29, Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said during a press conference Monday afternoon.

“We do know that a 13-year-old was gunned down on a city street on an early Sunday afternoon and we know that a monstrous event has shaken our city to its core. We hope that today will be the first step in the pursuit of justice: justice for Tyler Lawrence, justice for his family and justice for this entire city,” Hayden said.

Hayden said the “evil intent of the shooter in this case” should not mar the community’s “best reflections of Tyler,” whose memorial was held over the weekend.

Tyler, a Norwood resident, was shot and killed just before noon on Sunday, Jan. 29 near 119 Babson St. in Mattapan. He was staying at his grandparent’s house when he was killed.

Responding police officers found the teenage boy at the shooting scene suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Tyler lived in Norwood and attended Coakley Middle School in Norwood.

In a statement, The Rev. Kevin Peterson, founder of the New Democracy Coalition, said he’s glad an arrest has been made in Tyler’s murder, but the religious leader also shared the community’s outrage that Tyler, a middle schooler, had been “gunned down in a brazen targeted attack.”

“Moments after his murder I stood watching his lifeless body on the ground on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning. I cried,” Peterson said.

“The arrest of the alleged perpetrator follows expressed outrage from a community besieged by violence that is disproportionate to the rest of the city,” Peterson said. “Tyler Lawrence’s life was snatched away within the boundaries of what many in the black neighborhoods call a triangle of death. Mattapan and Dorchester is where the majority of murders take place and we continue to demand that law enforcement devise specific strategies that speak to the unprecedented amount of homicide that pertains to the city’s black community.”

City leaders and the community are “morally obligated to respond to” violent crime in Boston neighborhoods “in ways that treat this violence like an and epidemic and an emergency,” said Peterson.

Hayden, the district attorney, asked the public to assist investigators in seeking justice for Tyler.

“There is still we do not know about this terrible crime. It’s still an ongoing investigation. We still need your help and assistance,” Hayden said.

The boy’s family “has shown extraordinary courage and strength during this time of loss,” said Hayden, who attended Tyler’s memorial on Sunday.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, speaking during the press conference, said Tyler was a “shining young child” who had his entire life ahead of him.

“We are all robbed of that possibility and potential, that we knew he would step into,” Wu said.

In addressing Tyler’s family and friends, Wu said: “I’m so sorry for your loss and 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,” Wu said.

Skerritt appeared in federal court in Boston on the fentanyl distribution charge on Monday, and was detained pending a hearing scheduled for Feb. 14.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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