Thermal Imaging Device Heats Up Case Against Juvenile Charged with 2nd Gun

BOSTON, January 10, 2018— A juvenile who led police on a foot chase was charged as a repeat gun offender after officers found a loaded firearm along his path of flight – and technology developed for firefighters suggested it had recently been tossed, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

A 17-year-old male from Dorchester was arraigned yesterday in the Juvenile Session of Dorchester Municipal Court on charges of delinquency, to wit: unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm as a second offense, unlawful possession of ammunition, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a large capacity firearm, and trespass.  According to prosecutors, the defendant was previously adjudicated delinquent – the equivalent of a guilty finding in the juvenile court – in 2016 and committed to the Department of Youth Services until the age of 18.

Judge Michael Coyne set bail at $25,000 and ordered the juvenile held without bail on a DYS detainer.

At approximately 1:37 a.m. yesterday, Boston Police were patrolling in the area of Westview and Ames streets, a location that had seen a high number of firearm-involved incidents and arrests in previous months.   Officers observed the juvenile turn from Westview Street onto Ames Street; after the officers’ cruiser also turned onto Ames Street, the juvenile turned and began walking in the opposite direction, prosecutors said.

Officers attempted to speak to the juvenile, but he instead hurried into a Boston Housing Authority building that was not his residence and which was marked “No Trespassing.”  Once inside, officers could see the juvenile break into a run toward the building’s back door, which opened into a courtyard.

Officers were able to speak to the 17-year-old once in the courtyard, where he allegedly denied that he had run from officers despite his heavy breathing. 

While searching his path of flight, officers located a loaded semi-automatic firearm in a nearby snowbank.  Officers used a thermal imaging device – an instrument originally used by firefighters to discern hot spots in house fires that measures heat the way a traditional camera captures light – and observed that the firearm was significantly warmer than the area around it. That, prosecutors argue, suggests that the weapon still retained someone’s body heat from being carried and had recently been discarded. Suffolk prosecutors pioneered the use of thermal imaging in Massachusetts courts in 2009.

The juvenile returns to court Jan. 22.





All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.