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Five shot in attack police link to gangs

As children rode bicycles and played outside late yesterday afternoon in Egleston Square, a hail of gunfire pierced the air, striking five males.

The wounds were not life-threatening, Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis told reporters at the scene.

He said one victim had been shot in the chest, but he did not give details on the others. The victims ranged in age from 17 to 22. No other information about the victims was released.

Davis called the shooting gang-related, and police said yesterday they are looking for a suspect who had been riding a dark-colored bicycle.

“They were all known to each other,’’ he said.

Davis said he feels confident that police will be able to make an arrest.

A 17-year-old, 19-year-old, and 20-year-old were taken to Boston Medical Center. A 19-year-old and 22-year-old were taken to Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

Moments before the shooting at 3151 Washington St., Davis said, police officers patrolling nearby had left to respond to another call. The site of the shooting lies in a part of Washington Street that straddles Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.

The victims were shot four days after another shooting at 3137 Washington St.

Two men and a woman were shot in that incident around 12:30 Thursday morning. One of the men was taken to Boston Medical Center and was listed in serious condition at the time; police said wounds to the other two were not life-threatening.

Yesterday, 29-year-old Julia Hernandez was at home on Washington Street when she heard the gunshots. She said that when she opened her door, she saw a sea of people fleeing.

She also saw one of the victims, who was bleeding heavily after a bullet appeared to have skimmed his head, she said. Another, shot in the foot, was seen taking off his shoes as they both waited for an ambulance.

Passersby stopped to aid the victims, she said.

“I saw everyone’s face, and I knew they were scared,’’ said Hernandez.

Local realtor Nate Gadbois said he was standing on a back porch of an apartment with a client when she asked if the neighborhood was safe. As he was telling her the area was improving, he said, they heard “pop, pop, pop, pow!’’

As the two left the apartment and were driving down the street, they saw one of the victims holding his head and blood dripping down his hand.

“I don’t think the woman is going to be renting that apartment,’’ Gadbois said.

The Police Department has recently launched a string of initiatives to reduce gang violence in the city, but shootings have continued.

Early last month, after several shootings, including the killing of two 14-year-old boys, the police teamed with state and federal agencies to focus on the most dangerous gang members, as well as their families and the neighborhoods where they live.

But several days later, on July 4, seven people were shot, including four people on troubled Hendry Street in Dorchester, in an incident police said was gang-related.

Yesterday, Davis defended the department’s efforts to combat gang violence, saying shootings have gone down in the city.

“Our strategies are working,’’ he said.

Egleston Square, once called a hot spot for crime by police, has seen a turnaround as more trendy businesses and urban professionals have been moving in, taking advantage of its proximity to train service and easy access to the South End and downtown.

Hernandez said that she moved to the neighborhood in December and that the area had been quiet until this summer, when the number of fights among local youths seemed to increase.

After the two recent shootings, she worries about her safety and that of her three children, including her 10-year-old son who she said was at a nearby restaurant and heard the shots and saw the victims.

“He said he was scared,’’ she said.

The brazen nature of the shooting stunned some residents. “They’re getting very brave,’’ said Jessy, a 19-year-old resident who would not give her last name...

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