Shooting Suspect Was Defending Home From Possible Gang Members, Says Lawyer

The alleged shooter's lawyer says the defendant and his family had been threatened by tenants who shared their Broadway home.

Santano Dessin, the Somerville man accused of shooting a 28-year-old in the neck Sunday night, was defending his family's home from tenants with possible gang affiliations, according to Dessin's lawyer, who spoke Tuesday morning at Dessin's arraignment.

Dessin, 33, has been charged with armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling. The shooting took place at around 11:30 p.m. after Dessin got into a verbal argument with the victim, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

The victim of the shooting was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital and remained in critical condition, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

Cheryl C. McGillivray, a public defender serving as Dessin's attorney, said Dessin and his family, who live at 196 Broadway, where the shooting took place, had long been threatened by a group of their tenants.

"These individuals have caused problems repeatedly over the past months," she said.

McGillivray said the group had possible gang affiliations and had been involved in drug activity. She said they had threatened Dessin and Dessin's mother in the past.

"It was in this context that the indecent happened," she said.

Dessin's brother told Boston.com Monday the shooting was in self defense after the first-floor tenants attacked the defendant.

McGillivray said Dessin was a graduate of UMass Boston who was pursuing a master's degree in criminal justices and sociology, that he had briefly served in the military before receiving a medical discharge and that he had a license to carry a firearm. "There's no history of drugs or alcohol" with Dessin, she said.

In the wake of the shooting, "I know the family is very concerned about retaliation being taken against them," she said.

After court proceedings Tuesday, a man who identified himself as a relative of Dessin's said the family would not be making any statements about the matter. 

Prosecutors said in court Tuesday that Dessin had taken video on his cell phone of part of the incident and that the video "does not show an incident of self defense."

They said multiple witnesses named Dessin as the shooter and that he also had Mace and a knife on him at the time.

Tuesday's arraignment was before Judge Maurice R. Flynn at Somerville District Court. Dessin is being held pending a bail hearing, which is scheduled for Friday.

Fred Oleary November 17, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Interesting turn of events. Not that it makes things better for any of the neighbors but it seems like the DAs office think this was a bunch of bad seeds all the way around http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/news/x1783172626/Prosecutors-Somerville-shooter-intentionally-shot-victim-after-baiting-him
Fred Oleary November 17, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Never cheer before you know who's winning http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/news/x1783172626/Prosecutors-Somerville-shooter-intentionally-shot-victim-after-baiting-him
Fred Oleary November 17, 2012 at 05:08 AM
yes, how terrible that someone might not want their life to be ruined by a bunch of idiots. Snitch. Evidently you don't even understand English. Snitch is when you "rat" out a person known to you. Complaining that a bunch of drunks are making your street worse is called Standing Up for Yourself. But I guess people who have no courage without a group of like minded - which is to say FEEBLE minded - "friends" to back them up wouldn't understand such a concept. I bet you think the streets would be filled with trash even if everyone stopped littering. Here's a hint, you make your own hood. Try that on for size. Its actually nice to live in a nice place. A hell exists on earth, some people choose not to live in it. To each his own, cellar dweller. Now sing Black Sheep with me "I know not of a wish - just some soap, and some water, a rag and a dish." (<= your life prospects, if you keep talking that Snitch nonsense)
Jason November 18, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Fred, I think i agree with most of your angle, and the further story does depict a setup, but your suggestion that an, individual, shall not stand up for him/herself is asinine. What else would you call being intimidated in your own home....have you ever been privy to such an event? It's nasty stuff and is very unhealthy. Calling the police is always best policy in an urban enviornment, and I for one do it often enough. As this story unfolded we see that Mr. dessin was not within the law and made a poor decision based on being a victim. Whom now we know made a proactive move to remedy his own families situation. However the assumed "bad guy" may have considered a better attitude when entering the residence his godfather lived in. I for one will not fault him taking a don't tread on me stance. So, the injured, will we ever know the real history ever? Will the police be available to back up Mr Dessins claim of gang affiliation? @somervillian, beat it, Wannabe. **I did edit this from a day ago.**
Tony S April 08, 2013 at 11:57 PM
What was it you did for work hero?


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