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South Boston Online
  Friday, March 6, 2015
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An Incident in Old Colony
By Rick Winterson

     Alberto Duarte was the father of three young children.  His mother lived in Old Colony; he and his companion, Amanda Gavin, lived in Roxbury.  Last Wednesday evening around midnight, he drove his newly-purchased, dark blue Acura to Old Colony to show his mother, Tania Duarte, his new car.

     Accounts vary as to what then happened, but they seem to center around the following train of events.  Supposedly, a gang of youths threatened and slapped a young girl from Old Colony (name unknown).  This gang was somehow connected to a Cambodian family that had recently been moved into Old Colony from another project.

     The young girl went to get Alberto Duarte from his mother’s residence, because he had often worked informally with young people in Old Colony, including defusing potentially dangerous situations.  Most of those nearby claimed that Duarte told the gang to leave the young girl alone.  Some say he told the gang to shoot him instead of hurting the young girl. 

    Whatever the case, Duarte was shot between four and six times at 1 a.m. Thursday morning, July 27, on East Ninth Street near Patterson Way.  He died almost at once.

     Some spent cartridges were later found where he died, after the crime scene was cleared and Duarte’s body removed.  The street talk is that these were planted later on for some unknown reason.  Other rumors and veiled threats of retaliation have been circulating.

    A memorial service, led by Fr. Fabricio Alana of St. Monica’s Church, was held on Thursday evening at the shrine set up by Old Colony residents where Duarte was killed.  The Cambodian family was relocated Friday, an event that almost became explosive.

    Alberto Duarte worked for New England Coach, driving the elderly to their medical appointments.  He was a caregiver to his grandmother, and he had a reputation for not drinking or using drugs.  He would often volunteer to help young people with homework or get them back in school.  He got involved; he was one of the good guys.

     Alberto Duarte’s mother is in deep mourning, of course.  What pain can compare to a mother who has lost one of her children forever?  Yet she took the time to speak through her grief for the good of the community.  She warned us all:

     “I want this community and the Police Department to realize there are lots of things happening here in Old Colony – among the children as well as teens.  Be watchful and be careful.  Be cautious of who is moving into the complex.  Investigate them.  As a community, we must be vigilant and do proper screening.  The person who shot my son was from a family who lived here only three weeks; they were a constant source of complaints.”

      An arraignment in the slaying has been made, according to a B.P.D. bulletin.  Chanly Kan was arrested in Allston on Monday on several charges, including a number of warrants unrelated to Duarte’s death.  He was then charged with killing Duarte.  This brings closure a step closer, but there are (and will be) many ripples from the loss of Duarte.

     Three families have been scattered from Old Colony.  Their new residences are already known to everybody – a poorly kept secret, if there ever was one.  Ripples.  Duarte’s three young children are barely toddlers.  Breanna, Xavier, and Adriana will now grow up without their father.  Ripples.  And Alberto Duarte was registered as an organ donor, but his organs were ruined by the bullets he took.  How many will have to go without life-saving transplants because of his wounds?  More ripples.

       Alberto Duarte was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park today, after farewell ceremonies in St. Monica’s Church.  The Alberto Duarte Fund to help his children has been set up at the Mt. Washington Bank.  Any monetary assistance you can give would be very welcome.  We can only quote the Gospel of John (15, 13): “Greater love has no man, than he who lays down his life for his friends.”

     And now it is quiet in Old Colony.  Very quiet.  Too quiet.

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Grieving family, neighbor and friends gather outside the Duarte residence after the shooting of Alberto Duarte.

Fr. Fabricio Alana conducts a memorial ceremony at the place where Alberto Duarte died.