A minute before he was shot, Hoang Vo said, his assailant had asked him for a cigarette.
Vo and a friend were walking on Monsignor Patrick J Lydon Way on Oct. 30, 2011 when a would-be robber approached them on the street and shot them, authorities have said. Prosecutors said that man was John Graham, now 19 and on trial for the murder of Ciaran Conneely, a 36-year-old man who was killed in a separate incident on Oct. 10, 2011 on Nahant Avenue in Dorchester.
Vo, 22, testified that he and his friend had gone to a convenience store to buy a cigarillo to smoke marijuana and were walking back to his house when a young man sitting on some steps near the sidewalk asked for a cigarette. He and his friend kept walking. Seconds later, Vo said, he heard footsteps on the pavement behind him.
The man from the stairs had pulled up the hood of his sweatshirt, and now he had a gun. He demanded Vo and his friend empty their pockets.
“I’m going to give you to the count of three,” Vo recalled the man saying.
At that point, he and his friend began backing up into the street. But according to Vo, his friend said something first: “Three, two, one, nigger.”
“What happened then?” Prosecutor Ian Polumbaum asked Vo in court Friday.
“He shot us.”
Vo said he didn’t know he had been hit until his mom came outside screaming and told him to take off his jacket. Blood poured into his hand, he said. A bullet had lodged in his elbow. His friend fell to the ground and asked for an ambulance, Vo recalled.
The man who tried to rob them took off down Monsignor Patrick J Lydon Way in the direction of Dorchester Avenue.
Vo and his friend both survived the incident. He did not identify Graham as his attacker during the trial Friday. But prosecutors plan to argue that a bullet fragment recovered from either Vo or his friend matched the bullet that killed Conneely about three weeks earlier on Nahant Avenue, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors allege that Graham shot Conneely after attempting to rob him. He faces several charges, including first-degree murder, armed assault with intent to rob, and unlawful possession of a firearm, in connection with the killing of Conneely and the later shooting of Vo and his friend.