Thanks to the Internet, news of the shootings that killed two and critically injured a third moved quickly around the globe -- so did the grief.
The photo of two smiling sisters adorn the cover of Asemana, one of Cape Verde’s largest newspapers.
“Cape Verdean women shot in Brockton,” the headline read in Cape Verdean.
On PraiaCapital.com, a Cape Verdean Web site, messages of sorrow came from across the world.
And on the island of Fogo, the birthplace of three Cape Verdean immigrants shot by a man authorities say was consumed by racial hatred, people were stunned.
Thanks to the Internet, news of the shootings that killed two and critically injured a third moved quickly around the globe.
So did the grief.
“At this point, everyone is asking why?” said Isabel Varela, a spokesman for the Embassy of Cape Verde in Washington. “The reaction is disbelief.”
Amilcar Tavares, a blogger in Cape Verde and owner of the online newspaper http://VozDiPovo-online.com, said people on Cape Verde have been following the story on radio and television.
“Everybody wants justice,” he said. “People believe in U.S. justice and want him away.”
A 20-year-old woman, Selma Goncalves, was shot to death Jan. 21 fleeing her Clinton Street home; her sister was critically wounded inside their apartment; and 72-year-old man Arlindo Goncalves was shot to death while pushing a cart filled with cans outside in what authorities called a hate-fueled rampage by a Brockton man.
Keith Luke, 22, of Brockton, is accused of shooting the three, then firing upon police during a chase through part of the city.
He told authorities, according to court papers, he forced his way into the sisters’ apartment — murder and rape on his mind — and had planned later that night to open fire on bingo players at a local synagogue in a bid to kill as many “nonwhites” and Jews as possible.
He is now held without bail, undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital.
The attacks shook those living in Cape Verde, a group of islands off the African coast colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century.
“Some people over there were worried about us here,” said Anya Veiga, a member of the Brockton Cape Verdean Association. “Nobody expected something like this.”
Gunga Tavares, cultural attache for the Cape Verde Consulate General, said the attacks drew people in the community closer together and looking for ways to help the families.
“The community is stepping up in a positive way,” she said. “Everyone seems very calm. They realize it is not representative of the Brockton community. We don’t want people to feel they are looking over their shoulders when they are walking down the street.”
The attacks hit those in Cape Verde particularly hard, where nearly everyone knows someone living in the United States.
“Cape Verde is a very small place,” said Ana Delacth of Brockton, whose family knows the slain woman’s relatives in Cape Verde. “Everybody knows everybody ... Hating somebody because of color is just unheard of.”
Interest in what happened in Brockton has been worldwide.
Videos posted by The Enterprise at www.enterprisenews.com about the shootings and the victims’ funerals have been linked to Cape Verdean sites and viewed by thousands of people.
More than 100 people signed the online condolence book posted on PriaiCapital.com, some penning messages in English, others in Cape Verdean. The messages were left from people in countries including Portugal, the Netherlands, Brazil, Holland and Luxemburg,
“This is such a tragedy and a loss that will never be forgotten,” one person from Fogo, Cape Verde, wrote.
“As a CV here in Florida, it is difficult to see where our world is heading,” wrote another person in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Daniel Freire, owner and founder of PraiaCapital.com, said the attacks hit the close-knit Cape Verdean community hard.
“Everyone is sad about what happened,” he said. “It is not something that happens all the time.”
Moises Rodrigues, the city’s director of community services, said the concept of someone being attacked or killed because of their skin color or religion is foreign to those on Cape Verde.
“There is no such thing as a hate crime in that community. It is just crime, period. You get killed because of street violence. People are not killed because they are black, white, pink or purple.”
Maureen Boyle can be reached at email@example.com.