BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) _ Heather Anderson was buried in a pauper's grave under marker 609 in the city cemetery, laid to rest with her stuffed animals as tokens of the childhood the 16-year-old never had.

Heather, a runaway who didn't run far, lived and died on the streets of this industrial city of 100,000 south of Boston where homicides are rare.

A week ago, an unseen assailant sprayed gunfire at the teen-ager, her boyfriend and his roommate as they sat on a wall outside a row of stores. She died in surgery, an artery in her abdomen severed by a .22-caliber slug.

Heather, who since age 7 had lived in a successsion of foster homes here but had been a runaway for nearly a year, was one of those street children who didn't seem to belong anywhere or to anyone.

But at her graveside Friday, it was clear there were many who cared.

One of her foster mothers, Mary Hatfield, dedicated a poem to her: ''How shall we explain the life that slips away like shadows fading into the black of night? She is not unrecognized. She will not be unremembered.' '

Hatfield remembered Heather as both charming and difficult.

''She was starved for affection. She never knew the potential she had. She always had to ask, 'Do you like me? Am I pretty?' '' she said.

''Heather had been without her family since she was 7,'' said Heather's aunt, Suzanne Gonsalves. ''She was left at a very early age. ... It's hard to be a teen-ager when you never got to be a child.''

In a eulogy, the Rev. Jeanne Bell said, ''We are overwhelmed by the tragedy of her violent and cruel death at 16. We think of her as loving animals and babies. We think of her with a good sense of humor and a winsome smile.''

Authorities would not disclose details about Heather's family history and how she ended up in foster care.

Her friends said she was tough and self-reliant - or at least seemed that way. Social workers who tried to help said they were limited by Heather's resistance.

''It's very difficult when a child runs away from a system that is trying to help,'' said Lorraine Carli, spokeswoman for the state Department of Social Services. ''It's hard to deal with adolescents. You can't hold them down in one place.''

The killing remained a mystery. Police have so far drawn a blank on suspects.

Heather was talking with her boyfriend, Jose ''Tony'' Pena, 19, and his roommate, Gary ''Danny'' Nelson, 26, when someone fired seven shots in their direction, hitting all of them. Heather stumbled across the street to a friend's house.

''She ran down my driveway,'' said Sara Fonseca. ''She tried to climb the back stairs but fell.'' As she lay dying, Fonseca said, ''she wanted to tell me something. She wanted to tell me who did it but she couldn't breathe.''

''She had a rough life,'' Fonseca said. ''She always tried to make jokes about it, and laugh about it, but it really hurt her inside. All she wanted was for somebody to love her.''

The two men are recovering from their wounds.

''As far as I know, we don't know right now whether it was a drive-by or if someone walked up to them and shot them,'' said Sgt. Joe Silver.

It was the city's second homicide this year.

Another friend, Laurie Buckley, said Heather was attacked and beaten with a jagged beer can by two women last month and spent three days in Brockton Hospital. Police said they had no information about that incident.

Heather's foster sister, Judy Darling, said, ''She was a happy person, she did have a lot on her mind. I've seen kids come and go. She was one that just stuck in my head.

''Heather was trying to get her life straightened out. She wanted to. She really wanted to.''