It was in the late fifties and I was just coming into my teenage years and forever I will remember that day. My lifelong friend Alan Belinfante (owner of Beach Sales in Revere) and I were walking the Revere Beach Boulevard taking in all the sights and sounds on a warm summer’s day with the noise of the people and amusements drowning out our conversation.
We had just passed the MDC Police Station (now Revere Barracks of Massachusetts State Police) and were coming towards group of carnival-like booths; the Cyclone Roller Coaster was probably our destination.
There were rows of booths where people were trying to win prizes and a couple of real live 22 caliber rifle shooting galleries that were part of the scene. We slowed down to see how the shooters were doing. There was a row of 22 caliber rifles chained to the counter top to prevent anything other than shooting at the moving targets. I don’t know if there was a minimum age for use but I do know that I had shot those rifles many times.
Suddenly there was a scream and we saw a young girl falling to the ground a car length in front of us. There was blood flowing from her head wound and people were screaming and running every which way. The police were there in seconds and then the big MDC Cadillac ambulance showed up, scooped the little girl up and took off. This was before the days of EMTs and Paramedics who give instant care at a scene. An MDC Police Car escorted it and they left for Boston and Mass General Hospital.
Alan and I just started running the other way. We were not sure what happened till we read the newspaper accounts the next day. I know I did not tell my parents about being at the incident otherwise I would have been banned from the beach forever.
In the news stories that followed it was said the teenager boy who shot the girl said “I was with my girlfriend who was babysitting her sister and I was just trying to scare her to make her shut up.” she died later that day. He was tried for murder. I don’t remember the outcome of the trial. They came from Boston’s West End.
Not all my Revere Beach Memories are bad. As a child, my mother took my sister and I to the beach almost every day. We spent our summers on the beach and as a teenager, my friends and I hung there at night.
I used to play those carnival games and won two parakeets putting a dime on the number 60. I remember telling the friends I was with, “watch and I will show you how to win.” Next thing they knew I was running down the beach shirtless having taken my shirt off to protect the parakeets and bring them home where they lived for many years.
This Is What Alan Belinfante Remembers Of That Day.
Ok, we were on our bicycles, mine a Raleigh, used, you I think Schwinn. We stopped at the shooting gallery, you on one side straddling your bike, me on the other. The idea at the shooting gallery was to use the 22 cal. bullets to knock out a red star and Win $5.00.
The guns were supposed to be left unloaded until a patron tried their luck. Now, the unfortunate circumstances. A young teen age girl was babysitting a young family and took them to Revere Beach for the day. She ran into a teenage boy in the penny arcade and left with him and the children to stroll the boulevard.
Right outside the arcade was the shooting gallery. The rifles had a chain on the barrel for safety? His story in the aftermath of the tragedy was he pulled the trigger quickly at the target to make sure the rifle was empty (he did not actually pay for the shoot).”
Just trying to impress the girls. Then, he turned the gun at the group to scare them, actually aiming high in case (even though he said he tested before). The restriction of the safety chain only allowed for limited movement when turning the gun outside its normal range.
Unfortunately for that little girl, his aiming high and the safety chain was just enough to have the 22 cal. bullet hit her in the temple. A very small hole, as I remember, almost no blood and unfortunately no movement, she just dropped.
We did race our bikes to the MDC station, as we arrived they were already pouring out of the station. I don’t think we went back to the scene. We were close that day, I have thought about a little more chain or movement and it could have been one of us. Anyway, that’s how I always remembered that day.