Arrest Made Months After Deadly Shooting Near Roxbury School

The shooting that killed Bhilal Bell, 27, took place near a park that neighbors said is often used by children after school during the afternoon of April 11

Nearly a year after a man was fatally shot near a school in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, his suspected killer was arrested during an unrelated traffic stop, police said.

James Morale was stopped by a Boston police officer in the South End Thursday evening for a driving infraction, officials said. The 26-year-old from Boston was arrested about 7:39 p.m., after officers discovered Morale was wanted on a murder charge.

Morale was due to appear in Suffolk Superior Court to face the charges he'd been wanted on, which also include unlawful possession of a gun and ammunition, police said. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak to his arrest.

The shooting that killed Bhilal Bell, 27, took place near a park that neighbors said is often used by children after school during the afternoon of April 11.

The shooting on Keegan Street was reported about 5:45 p.m. and Bell, from Boston, was rushed to a hospital. He died of his gunshot wound, police said at the time.

There was no word on any suspect Monday night.

“Obviously this is yet another tragic situation. Our hearts are heavy at this particular time," Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said at a news conference that night. "From our focus, one of the obvious primary concerns is that this happened in a public park."

Investigators canvassed the entire park, searching for evidence and collecting several bullet casings that were spread across the street and the baseball field near the Orchard Gardens Public School.

"I was really shocked, and I was really scared because it is a park, and I just hope that the kids are not in danger, like it wasn't happening during school hours, because the school is right next to it," said Lynn Ngyuen, who is concerned for children living in the area.

Aerial footage from the scene showed all of Orchard Park taped off. Several police vehicles could also be seen parked in the street alongside the baseball field, with detectives nearby talking to people just steps from the baseball diamond.

Neighbors told NBC10 Boston they heard anywhere from 12 to 20 gunshots. Hayden said they didn't yet know how many shots were fired.

No one else was hurt in the shooting, but officials realized it could have been worse.

"As far as we know and by all indications there was no ongoing activity or other people from the public in the park at the time of the incident so we can call ourselves fortunate in that respect," Hayden said.

Nearby residents told NBC10 Boston that the park is often used by children after school.

"It's super crazy," said Esteban Lara, who was concerned for his family. "I mean, my nieces and nephews play in this park all the time."

Lara and neighbors living around Roxbury's Orchard Park considered themselves fortunate that they and their loved ones weren't around the playground when the deadly shooting took place.

"When you hear something like this happening right across the street from where your mother lives, it's kind of like pretty crazy, pretty concerning," Lara added.

The fatal incident was the latest in an uptick in shootings across Suffolk County at the time -- including a crowded street in Revere, a busy gas station parking lot in Roslindale, and a playground in Charlestown -- something the district attorney said he attributes to too many guns on the street.

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