Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boston area racist murders three strangers; goal was shul

Maria DeSilveira stood on the front porch of a relative's home yesterday clutching a framed photograph of her handsome father as tears rolled down her face.

"My dad didn't deserve this,'' she said of Arlindo DePina Goncalves, 72. "There's too much racism in this world.''

Police said Goncalves was the third and final victim of Keith Luke, a 22-year-old Brockton man who authorities said devised an "evil plan'' fueled by racism to kill as many "nonwhites'' and Jews as he could before taking his own life.

Luke, authorities alleged yesterday, killed Goncalves and a 20-year-old woman, raped and shot the woman's 22-year-old sister, but failed in his plans to attack a Jewish synagogue and end his life.

Luke stood in Brockton District Court, hands manacled behind his back, his face scratched and bruised, the outcome of a gun battle, police chase, and car crash.

Luke pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated rape, and two counts of armed assault with intent to kill. He was ordered held without bail by Judge James Sullivan.

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One 20-year-old woman was shot and killed and her older sister was repeatedly raped and shot, but survived. She was listed in stable but serious condition at a Boston hospital yesterday.

The Globe is not naming the sisters because its policy is not to identify victims of sex crimes without their permission.

In court, First Assistant District Attorney Frank Middleton described Luke's alleged rampage and how two men -- one white, the other described as a person of color -- braved gunfire to try to help the mortally wounded woman.

"Yesterday this defendant methodically began an evil plan of mass murder and rape in the City of Brockton targeting victims he identified as nonwhite,'' said Middleton. Luke wanted to "kill as many Jews, blacks, and Hispanics as humanly possible ... before killing himself,'' he said.

. . . and . . . 

Luke allegedly forced his way inside the sisters' apartment with a 9mm handgun and a backpack containing two pairs of handcuffs, a blindfold, and a gag he had bought with his mother's credit card. He used the handcuffs to bind the elder sister's hands and then repeatedly raped her. When her sister came to the door and banged on it, Luke shot her multiple times, police said.

After shooting the woman at the door, Luke looked to her sister in a bedroom covering herself with a white teddy bear. He shot her through the stuffed animal, according to the police report.

Out on the street, as two men tried to help the younger sister, who had retreated from the door, Luke fired at the nonwhite would-be rescuer, but missed and then drove off, police said.

A few blocks away, Luke happened upon Arlindo Goncalves, whom he knew from the neighborhood, police said. Luke stepped out of his van and fired, police said.

"Goncalves raised one hand in front of his face to protect himself,'' police wrote. They said Luke shot him again in the back to make sure he was dead. A passerby who had followed Luke provided police with his license plate number.

Luke reportedly fired on and missed two Brockton police officers as they pursued the van until it plowed into two vehicles and crashed near East Ashland and North Quincy streets.

Police said Luke told them he bought a handgun on the street six months ago and purchased 200 rounds of ammunition.

"I'm sorry I shot at the cops,'' he said, according to a police report. "But I am not sorry I shot those people at the house.''

After he shot as many "nonwhites'' as he could, he reportedly told the police his plan was to head to a synagogue near his mother's Pleasant Street home and kill as many Jews as he could as they left a bingo game. He would then kill himself.

Rabbi Joshua Cohen of Temple Beth Emunah, the Conservative synagogue Luke planned to attack, said he had never heard of Luke and believes he randomly targeted the synagogue. He said investigators told him Luke was acting alone.

"As much as we like to think we've moved forward in our society and culture, hate and racism still exist, and it's really unfortunate,'' Cohen said.

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