Hundreds of concerned residents packed into a stuffy South Boston elementary school cafeteria Monday wanting answers about a grisly murder that happened one week earlier, just minutes away.
Eager residents seeking information about the stabbing death of 24-year-old Amy Lord even congregated outside, peering in.
"There is a myriad of things that have to be properly processed. I'd love to stand here and say we are charging this individual tonight, but I cannot do that," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told the crowd.
Investigators said Lord was beaten, robbed and stabbed to death early last Tuesday and dumped at the Stony Brook Reservation.
Davis reassured the crowd that investigators are close to bringing formal charges in the matter, but did not outwardly state whether Edwin Alemany, 28, is responsible for the murder.
Alemany is the sole person of interest in the case. Last week Alemany was charged with assault with intent to murder in connection with a separate non-fatal stabbing of a woman in South Boston around the time of Lord's murder. He was also charged with punching a second woman Tuesday.
Suffolk County Dan Conley said Alemany's non-fatal attacks on women around the time of Lord's murder show "facts very similar to her murder case," and that prosecutors would ask that he be held on "extraordinarily high bail" in those cases.
"And we expect to get it," he said. Applause rang through the tiny cafeteria when he assured residents that Alemany "no longer poses any threat to the citizens of South Boston."
Alemany was brought to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental health evaluation following his arrest.
"In the case of Amy Lord, we can say with absolute certainty that she was an innocent victim," Conley said before pleading with anxious residents to be patient with investigators.
"We need more time and more room to build the most compelling case possible. [Lord's] family and friends deserve nothing less."
Suzanne Schlossberg, 23, works in the area and attended last night's meeting to get a sense of how safe it is to walk around Southie.
"I'm concerned about the safety here," said Schlossberg. "I felt fine before. I had no problem working late. … This is really about this recent spate of incidents and wanting to make sure that that's taken care of."
She is not concerned that charges had not yet been brought as of tonight: "I think law enforcement is doing their job. They will bring charges forward when they think it's appropriate. When they have evidence to prove that someone did it."
Also tonight, Davis announced that Boston Police Detective Jerome Hall-Brewster, who last year failed to arrest Alemany after his wallet was found at the scene of a Roxbury attack, was relieved of his duties. The announcement elicited applause from the crowd.