QUINCY – A 19-year-old Maynard man has been charged with murder in the death of Dijoun Beasley, who police say was shot in the head at South Shore Plaza last month in front of his girlfriend and her 3-year-old child.
Julius Hammond-Desir was arraigned in Quincy District Court on Wednesday afternoon on charges of murder, carrying a firearm without a license and carrying a loaded firearm without a license. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf.
Judge Mary Orfanello ordered him held without bail until a probable cause hearing March 15.
Beasley's mother and girlfriend were in the courtroom for the short arraignment.
Hammond-Desir was arrested in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston by Braintree, Boston and State Police, the Norfolk County district attorney's office said Wednesday. He was wanted by police for nearly four weeks before his arrest.
In court, Assistant District Attorney Anne Yas said Hammond-Desir spent time in Randolph and New Bedford while evading police. She said he changed his appearance by cutting his hair.
Beasley, of Dorchester, was shopping in a store on the main floor of the Braintree mall when police say he was shot by Hammond-Desir with a handgun. Yas said Hammond-Desir confronted Beasley and shot him seconds later, then left the mall.
In a police report filed with court, State Police said video surveillance shows Hammond-Desir and Beasley talking briefly near the entrance to Forever 21 just before 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22. The video then shows Hammond-Desir lift his shirt and shoot Beasley in the head.
Yas said in court that Beasley was defenseless.
Chaos ensued at the mall after the shooting, Yas said, and SWAT teams were called in to clear the mall. Dozens of law enforcement officers responded to the shooting.
Shortly after the shooting, officials said it was gang-related. A police report filed in support of a criminal complaint does not mention gang affiliations for either man. The report was written by State Trooper Matthew Dunne.
Beasley, 26, was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he later died.
Two arrested in South Shore Plaza shooting
Hammond-Desir's arrest is the second in connection with Beasley's death.
Samantha Schwartz, 27, was arraigned Jan. 28 in Quincy District Court on a charge of accessory after the fact of murder. A not guilty plea was entered. Judge Maurice Flynn set bail at $20,000 cash and scheduled a probable cause hearing for Friday, Feb. 18.
In the police report filed Wednesday, Dunne said Schwartz told a friend and her mother that Beasley had pulled out a gun. Schwartz told her friend that the encounter started because Beasley thought Hammond-Desir was staring at him.
"The shooter ran and this defendant followed," Yas said at Schwartz's arraignment. "This defendant helped him escape."
Yas said Schwartz drove Hammond-Desir to an apartment where he hid and she contacted him while he was hiding. The police report filed Wednesday said Schwartz even brought him food from the restaurant Flames while he hid in Randolph.
She then dropped out of sight and left her two children in the care of others, Yas said. She moved around, changed her social media settings and stayed off her cellphone, Yas said. She said Schwartz sent someone to her home on Forest Street in Attleboro in the middle of the night to pick up her car in an effort not to tip off investigators to her location.
"She kept herself out of the public eye," Yas said.
Firsthand account: It was supposed to be a carefree shopping day. Until the shooting started.
Defense lawyer Christopher Malcolm described his client as terrified.
"Shots go off, and she's terrified like everybody else," Malcolm said.
He said she dropped out of sight out of concern for her own safety.
"She's received threat after threat after threat," Malcolm said.
Mall shooting the third in five years
The January shooting was the third time in recent memory shots were fired inside the mall. A 15-year-old bystander was hurt in a 2020 shooting, and in 2017 members of rival gangs happened to bump into each other in Macy's shoe department. Gunshots were fired, but no one was hurt.
Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros called the shooting last month "unacceptable."
He and Braintree Police Chief Mark Dubois later met with Simon Property Group, the mall's owner, to talk about safety and improving security.
"The goal here is to have Simon Property invest some money into the infrastructure things that we need to have done," Kokoros said Jan. 28. "I think the bottom line is that we need more officers working at the plaza."
Photos from the 2020 shooting: Gunfire at South Shore Plaza
Kokoros and Dubois said issues at the mall strain the town's police force. The mall pays for three police officers to patrol, but the two leaders don't think that's enough. They want Simon to pay for more.
The mayor said video surveillance at the mall is "a little bit behind the times." He wants better cameras installed.
Michael Romstad, executive vice president of property management for Simon, said in a phone interview that the mall is adding new security features including a K-9 unit, more armed guards and more cameras.
"(Last month's) incident is just unacceptable and I think stopping crime takes a multifaceted approach," Romstad said.
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This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Man accused of South Shore Plaza shooting charged with murder