Innocent Teen Was Shot Dead in Gang Feud, Prosecutor Says

Eighteen-year-old Alex Sierra was shot dead because he answered truthfully when asked where he lived, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said at his alleged killer’s arraignment today.

RICARDO ARIAS (D.O.B. 10/22/93) of Roslindale was arraigned in the Boston Municipal Court this afternoon on charges of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, Conley said. Acting on a request by Assistant District Attorney Amy Galatis, Judge Annette Forde ordered him held without bail.

Galatis told the court that Arias and a 16-year-old male were seen in the area of Tremont and West Boylston streets on Saturday evening “asking passersby if they were from the Villa” – an apparent reference to the nearby Villa Victoria housing development.

“The victim, Alex Sierra, was the one and only person who answered yes,” Galatis said, telling the court that investigators believe the incident stemmed from a longstanding rivalry between gangs affiliated with Villa Victoria and Mission Hill.
In response, prosecutors say, Arias produced a handgun and fired repeatedly at Sierra. The teen staggered into a barbershop and collapsed. He was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

“Once again, an innocent child has been gunned down amid the madness of a gang feud he had no part in,” Conley said. “Alex Sierra had no criminal record, he had never been arrested, he had no gang affiliation, and neither he nor his family did anything to deserve this fate. Now his name joins the terrible litany of precious young lives lost to mindless violence: Cedirick Steele. Herman Taylor III. Nicholas Fomby-Davis. Steven Odom. Trina Persad. Germaine Goffigan. There can be no motive to explain a crime like this, and there can be no place in civilized society for the type of person who commits it.”

Arias and the juvenile were seen getting into a gold-colored van, Galatis said. Boston Police alerted to the shooting and the van’s description spotted the vehicle and stopped it in the area of Annunciation Road.

Two occupants – alleged to be Arias and the juvenile – bolted from the vehicle, leading police on a brief chase. Police following the juvenile lost sight of him for a brief moment but soon apprehended him; a “member of the community” told police that he had tossed a gun into a Dumpster along his path of flight.

Police recovered that handgun and found it to be a ballistic match to three shell casings recovered near the scene of Sierra’s homicide, Galatis said, and soon apprehended Arias as well. Both were wearing clothes that matched witness descriptions.

At the time of the shooting, Galatis said, Arias was in the custody of the Department of Youth Services, to which he was committed following a December 2010 finding of delinquency for unlawfully possessing a handgun, Galatis said. He was on a one-day pass allowing him to watch a baseball game at Fenway Park.

Arias is represented by attorney Robert Sinsheimer and will return to court on Oct. 4. At a separate, closed-door hearing in the Boston Juvenile Court, Judge Garrett McManus ordered his juvenile co-defendant held on $250,000 cash bail on charges of accessory to murder after the fact and unlawful possession. That defendant is represented by attorney John Moss.