Police shoot, wound car-theft suspect in Chinatown

by Beacon Staff • April 19, 2006

"I was getting dressed and listening to The Mars Volta on my computer when all of a sudden, I heard two loud pops out my window," Carrier said.,Sophomore TV/video major Mike Carrier was getting ready for his day Tuesday morning in his 40 Boylston St. apartment when he heard gunshots outside his window.

"I was getting dressed and listening to The Mars Volta on my computer when all of a sudden, I heard two loud pops out my window," Carrier said. "I wasn't real suspicious, since I have seen oral sex and stabbings in the alley behind my building, so I left the apartment to go get bagels. When I came back to Boylston Street, I saw news vans and cameras everywhere. I went in for a closer look and saw smashed cars all over Washington Street."

The pops Carrier heard were gunshots.

An unspecified number of Boston Police officers fired shots into a vehicle driving recklessly, according to Boston Police Department (BPD) spokesman Mike McCarthy. The driver, Mark Botelho, 31, of Arlington, was shot in the stomach, McCarthy said.

Botelho was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment and was in stable condition Tuesday night, McCarthy said.

Botelho had crashed into three different cars in an attempt to flee Boston Police at the corner of Washington and Boylston streets, a block away from Emerson's campus, McCarthy said.

According to a press release issued by the BPD, Boston Police attempted to stop the Ford Explorer in front of 39 Boylston St. at about 11:30 a.m. Police said the car had been reported stolen from Somerville on Saturday.

As uniformed officers left their vehicle and approached the Explorer, Botelho sped down Boylston Street toward Chinatown, driving on the sidewalk near Washington Street, police said. Botelho then took a right turn on Washington Street and proceeded against traffic on the one-way road.

The Explorer collided with an unoccupied State Police vehicle and then hit an unmarked MBTA Transit Police Vehicle with three MBTA Transit Police officers and one Plymouth Police officer inside, the release said. Boston Police at the scene continued to pursue the suspect on foot at which point he reversed, crashing the Explorer into a third vehicle operated by a civilian, the release said.

The release said that after the third vehicle was struck, Boston Police officers opened fire on Botelho, who was still in his vehicle "due to the imminent danger to the public, pedestrians and motorists."

One MBTA Transit Police officer and three Boston Police officers were also taken to area hospitals for "well-being checks," McCarthy said.

Police have not released the names of the officers involved in the incident.

The press release did, however, state that Botelho would be charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, operation to endanger and other motor vehicle violations. Police are investigating other possible charges.

Despite the incident, which occurred less than a block from the Little Building, where a majority of on-campus students reside, many Emersonians interviewed said they feel safe in the area.

"I love living in this part of town," Carrier said. "My parents are nervous about me living here, but I love it."

Carrier said events like Tuesday's have a minimal effect on him, since he has been desensitized to violence and tragedy from living in Boston for the past two years.

"Between the construction accident, the shooting last semester near 7-Eleven, and this incident, I now live in the center of chaos," Carrier said.

Two men were fatally shot behind the Little Building in October and three died when a lift platform crashed from the Piano Row building onto Boylston Street earlier this month, The Beacon reported.

Meg Swift, who graduated from Emerson in 2001 and now works at Rock Bottom, said she thinks the shooting was just another example of quality of life issues in downtown Boston.

"I feel that people are more frustrated than scared," Swift said "They want more to be done about the crime in the area. Just the other day there [were] literally 25 crackheads outside this building, and we are on the same block as Emerson's Little Building."

Swift said she thinks the city is encouraging Emerson to move its entire campus downtown in order to make students safer.

The Theatre District area, which will be home to all Emerson buildings in the fall, has been the site of many recent crimes, and to students like Carrier, this is nothing new.

"The first week I moved into my apartment at 40 Boylston [St.], I didn't watch TV," Carrier said half-jokingly. "I just watched out the window of my apartment. It was far more sensational."