A Brief History of Recent Parking Space Violence in Boston

'When people are shooting over a parking spot, we’ve got a problem.'

On Monday, an afternoon dispute over a parking space in Dorchester resulted in the non-fatal shooting of a 34-year-old man on Nightingale Street.

An unidentified 27-year-old man known to the Boston Police is believed to have been behind the shooting and is currently being pursued. The suspect allegedly fled the area of the shooting in a black BMW before abandoning it nearby. It is not known at this time if the shooter and victim had any form of a relationship.

“Obviously, the individual who did the shooting wasn’t happy that [the victim] was in his spot. There’s way too many guns, and when people are shooting over a parking spot, we’ve got a problem,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans in an interview with The Boston Globe.

The Boston Herald reported police on the scene did not know for certain who actually shoveled out the parking space that sparked the shooting.

Ah yes, people are shooting each other over parking spaces, so it must finally be winter in Boston. We all know of the anecdotal stories of slashed tires, smashed windshields, and keyed cars, but how often do disputes over parkings spaces in the Hub actually escalate to a level where there is actual physical violence? Here’s a rundown of recent violent incidents over parking spaces in the Greater Boston area:

  • In 2008, a Cambridge man was arrested outside a Revere nightclub for allegedly stabbing two off-duty firefighters during a dispute over a parking space. One of the fighters was sent to a hospital for injuries that put him in critical condition. 
  • In 2010, Carmen Andino stabbed her Mission Hill neighbor during a dispute over a parking space on McGreevey Way. The injuries were so severe that the victim reported seeing white tissue protruding from her arm. In 2012, Andino was convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and sentenced to one year in prison.
  • In 2011, an argument over on Olney Street in Dorchester resulted in a man punching his neighbor in the face and later shooting at him with a pistol. Charles Robinson, 32, was arrested and charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon, armed assault with intent to murder, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, unlawful possession of a firearm and operating a motor vehicle after suspension.
  • In 2013, South Boston saw two notable parking space violence incidents in less than a week. First, someone used a nail gun to vandalize the car that took his shoveled-out parking space. Later, a 32-year-old man knocked out a 61-year-old man in an old fashioned brawl over a spot on East Eighth Street.
  • In 2014, a 64-year-old Brookline woman “went berserk” on another female driver when she parked in an open space on Beacon Street. Joan Finkelstein was charged with assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for kicking the other woman, disturbing the peace, and disorderly conduct after she allegedly reached into the car of the other driver to attack her. In a separate incident in Revere, a SWAT team responded to a man shooting multiple gunshots in the air during a parking dispute on Fenno Street at 1 a.m. 
  • The winter of 2015 did not produce an outbreak of street justice, but it still created some more memorable parking disputes. On the same Sunday in Somerville, a woman allegedly attempted to drive over another woman during an altercation over a parking space on Bonair Street, and a man attacked a plow driver with a shovel for pushing snow into his parking spot. Later that year, a 35-year-old Cambridge man was arrested after allegedly threatened a man with not one but two machetes during an argument over a parking space on Cambridge Street. In October, a Boston woman was arrested for allegedly assaulting a Stoughton woman during a dispute over a parking space at the South Shore Plaza.

If you know of parking fights we left out, please drop us a line. H/T on some of these goes to Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub.