Cops: Gang feud may have led to fatal shooting at Boston parade

Dawnn Jaffier in an undated photo.

CBS Boston

BOSTON - Investigators believe a possible gang feud led to the shooting death of an innocent bystander at a parade in Boston over the weekend.

Dawnn Jaffier, 26, died after shots were fired near a parade in the Dorchester neighborhood celebrating the city's annual Caribbean festival. The victim's father said she was shot in the head. A second woman was also grazed by a bullet.

Prosecutors charged 18-year-old Keith Williams with murder Monday. He was originally arrested on a gun charge after Saturday's incident. Authorities said he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Dorchester Municipal Court and was ordered held without bail.

Jaffier worked in a city elementary school and a Boys & Girls Club. Friends and co-workers described her as dedicated to helping young people in the city.

"Once again, the city of Boston has lost a young, vibrant, and promising member of the community," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a news conference. "Dawnn Jaffier was exactly the sort of person we need more of. She had dedicated herself to making the city and the world a better place."

Conley said investigators do not believe Jaffier was the intended target of the shooting, calling her "a truly innocent victim."

Police Commissioner William Evans said detectives were trying to determine if the shooting stemmed from gang activity. He appealed to witnesses and anyone else who might have information to come forward.

Evans noted that the shooting occurred despite a heavy presence of police at the parade, according to CBS Boston. "It just shows you how brazen these young kids can be," he said.

A message left with an attorney representing Williams was not immediately returned.

"The senseless violence in the city... has to stop," said Mayor Martin Walsh, who visited with the victim's family on Monday.

Jaffier's father showed Walsh a selfie his daughter took with the mayor a few weeks ago during a City Year event. While he did not recall the specific meeting, Walsh described Jaffier as an "incredibly special person."

While Boston has made inroads against violent crime, there are still far too many illegal guns on the street, the mayor said.

CBS Boston reports that the investigation is ongoing. "We need the public to come forward so we can find out exactly what happened that day," Evans said.