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Child Shooting Victim Hesitant About His Neighborhood

September 12, 1988

BOSTON (AP) _ An 11-year-old boy who was shot by a passing motorist as he sat outside his home said Sunday he’s afraid to go outside again.

″I don’t think I’m gonna go out on my steps,″ Sterling Garvin said. ″The only time I’m gonna sit on my steps is if there’s a lot of people out there I know ... and I’m talking about a lot.″

The boy was the latest victim in a string of stabbings and shootings in the city that Boston police have blamed, in part, on an increase in street gangs, dozens of which they say are trafficking drugs and guns.

The Aug. 19 death of Tiffany Moore, 11, who police said was sitting on a corner mailbox talking with friends when she was caught in a cross-fire of rival drug dealers, galvanized Roxbury residents, who called for an increased police presence in their neighborhood.

Sterling also lives in Roxbury, a predominantly black, low-income section of Boston with about 50,000 residents.

Sterling and two friends were talking after dinner Thursday when a red car with tinted windows pulled up to the curb and fired a single gunshot.

″I heard somebody say ‘Wow 3/8’ Then I see a hole in my pants,″ Sterling said. But he said he only felt a pinch and didn’t believe he had been shot.

″I kept saying, ‘I didn’t get shot’ ’cause it didn’t hurt,″ he said.

He was taken to Boston City Hospital, where doctors bandaged his left thigh but decided to not remove the .22-caliber bullet.

″They ain’t gonna take it out ’cause if they did take it out it’d damage my leg,″ Sterling explained as he rested on his mother’s bed, fingering the hospital bracelet he still wears.

Sterling’s mother, Jean, wants to remove the threat of violence. After living in the same four rooms for six years, the Garvin family is looking for a new home.

″It’s been the worst time of my life,″ said Mrs. Garvin, who emigrated from Trinidad 14 years ago. ″We had a fire above us a few months ago and my son got shot, so I think it’s time to move out.″

His mother and several cousins said they believed he was either shot randomly or was mistaken for someone else.

Mayor Raymond L. Flynn went to Sterling’s hospital room and spoke with the boy and his mother on the night Sterling was shot.

″He’s 11 years old, Tiffany Moore was 11 years old and I have a daughter who’s 11 years old. It really has to break your heart,″ Flynn said.

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