In Boston, Fistfights Lead to Melee and Murder

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A Vietnamese teenager killed Sunday in a South Boston brawl had come to the city for the weekend to visit friends and play basketball, his mother said yesterday at her Medford, Mass., townhouse. Now, 16-year-old Bang Mai was dead, and his mother, Nhi Tran, fought for composure and fought her anger as she struggled to articulate the myriad emotions she felt in a world suddenly turned upside-down. ”I want justice,” Tran told the Boston Globe.

Mai died in a melee that witnesses say attracted as many as 100 teenagers to the Mary Ellen McCormack development for a prearranged fight between single combatants from feuding white and Asian groups. After two individual fistfights were conducted within a cheering circle of white and Asian youths, one participant said, the confrontation disintegrated into a weapon-wielding free-for-all. Youth workers, police, and city officials said yesterday they do not believe the brawl was primarily race-related, but instead was the climax of an escalating series of assaults and confrontations. ”It’s more about turf,” said an aide to the mayor. The Asians involved included remnants of a once-robust Asian gang from Dorchester. Many of the white youths live in the area of the McCormack development.


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