72°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Murder in Revere: not just another statistic

In recent weeks there has been little public concern or controversy over the fatal shooting of a young Khmer man named Gift Chea. Chea was fatally shot in Revere on Sept. 5, in Doris Park in Revere. Part of a gathering of 20-30 youth, Chea apparently got involved in an argument with another man, who shot him dead.. 20 year-old Khampouthong Chittamath has been arrested and arrgained for the murder. He plead not gulty on Sept 9, and the trial is ongoing.

The articles published by both the The Herald and The Globe portray an individual who died because he was deeply involved in a rivalry between warring factions of Bloods and Crips. In reality, there is no definitive evidence to support the notion that Gift belonged to a gang. The only thing anyone knows for sure is that on Friday, September 5th he got caught up in a dispute that ended with him being shot three times in the head, stomach, and chest. In addition to Gift’s passing, his loved ones also suffered the pain of watching the media label him a gangster and gang affiliate. Those who knew him had only the kindest things to say of him, so the Mass Media has given them a chance to have their voices be heard.

The headline of the Herald article reads, “Lynn man held in slaying of rival gangster”. Gift’s friend Mevile Roun had the following response to this depiction, “It was disappointing to read what was printed in the newspaper about Gift Chea. Gift Chea, the victim, however, is not in a gang. He knows gang members, but who doesn’t? If you grew up with a kid you know, you will still talk to him whether he’s in a gang or not.”. Gift was apparently not the murderous thug implied in the Herald’s title. Chea is remembered for the person he was another friend, Poly, writes, “Gift is the most kind and gentle hearted person I’ve ever met. We were not born brothers, but we became brothers. Being his best friend and he as mine, has taught me to appreciate everything in life. Words on a piece of paper will never explain all that he is to me. Never! It hurts as I’m writing this because I lost my best friend and the world lost a good man.”.

UMass Boston lost a good man too. Gift’s mother graduated from the university in 1991, and her son had hoped to follow in her footsteps by completing his GED and applying as soon as possible. When he was in Junior High, Gift would often sit in on his mother’s classes anxiously waiting for his turn to learn . Before his death, he worked hard and earned his GED; hoping that he would soon be able to attend those very same classes that he visited as a boy.

He and his mother are integral parts of the UMass community, those who came before us and those who seek to follow are just as important as those of us who are here right now,.

There were only four sentences in the story released by The Globe, so it’s hard to criticize a report that hardly exists to begin with. However, as with the Herald article, the title pretty much says it all, “Lynn Man Denies Murder, Gun Charges”. The focus of this account is on the alleged shooter, Khampouthon Chittamath, and what he plans on doing in court. There is short a short statement made by David Procopio, spokesmen for the Suffolk district attorney, which simply states that the two men got into an argument and Gift got shot. Is that all there is to tell? Why did someone take the time to include David Procopio’s opinion and not Gift’s brother’s? Ousath Chea remembers, “My young bro always smiling and goofin’ around with his dimples and baby attitude in a big man’s body. Big little kid. Quick to help and take initiative. Kind. Very strong soul. Sweet heart. Loving brother. Always fun to be around. A character.”.

Years ago, Gift’s family came to the United States from war torn Cambodia pursuing happiness and domestic tranquility . Unfortunately, what they found was violence and slander. Some students at UMB have been working with members of surrounding communities to come up with long-term solutions to end the violence in their neighborhoods.

For information about an upcoming vigil, community forums, and other organized activities, please contact: Mike Som at [email protected] or Dimple Rana and [email protected]