“I can barely sleep and when I do, I don’t want to wake up” Shontae wails. There is a feeling of vacancy when she isn’t waking him up for school anymore or hearing him call for his mom down the hallway. Some days are worse than others, but all she can do at this point is try, even though she still faces the fact her son’s murderer is out there. Even worse, she can’t get a call back from those who promised to help.
In October of last year, a 14-year-old boy was shot multiple times in broad daylight near Washington Street in Roxbury. Now, 6 months later, Rasante Osorio’s family is still left with unanswered questions and no justice for this loss. As the news moved on so did the politicians and police according to the family. With Wu, Hayden, and Cox all seeming to dodge the family’s calls for help.
A week after this horrible event, Shontae Osorio, Rasante’s mother, was invited to meet with the assistant DA and homicide detective on the case. They vowed to keep in contact and keep updating them, but it turned out to all be empty promises, with still nothing to this day. Wu also publicly vowed to support and meet with the family… they say she forgot about them as quickly as she had heard about their tragedy.
There have been numerous attempts from Shontae to leave emails, calls and voicemails, and even messages via social media tagging people like Boston Police and Mayor Wu. Shontae says this lack of acknowledgment is like “his case is being thrown to the back like he was a nobody and he didn’t have anyone who loved him” but in reality, that could not be further from the truth. In this extreme case of neglect, all that can be asked is, where is justice?
Our staff after being contacted by the family took time to meet with Shontae and had the opportunity to speak to her about her son on a personal level, giving her a chance to tell us who he was, and to keep his memory alive. She first recounts Rasante, nicknamed “Tay” or “TayTay” by family members, as a happy kid, full of energy, always smiling, and making everybody laugh. Above all, Tay was a prankster and was constantly pranking his family, especially his mom. He cared deeply for all aspects of his life from sports, in which he played basketball and lacrosse, to school, where he was even offered a seat in Boston Latin School.
While Rasante is the only biological son of Shontae, he also grew up with two older brothers. He was extremely close with one of his brothers, who moved out to start college at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth just a couple of months before this tragedy. When his brothers weren’t around, he would often play video games with his stepdad. Rasante and his mom also had a special bond together, and after his brothers move, they were together even more. Shontae described her son as “my little best friend, always together”.
Kerrie Osorio, Rasante’s aunt, also provided some reflections on her late nephew. Kerrie has a 9-year-old son with autism who has had a hard time dealing emotionally with the passing of his cousin. She says her son misses the bonds they had, as Rasante was such a big influence on him and all the little kids, that he was someone who was collectively admired. Rasante would frequently go over to their house and see his uncle, with whom he trained in boxing, but more often than not he would lose interest in that and wind up playing with the kids. His infectious laugh could be heard around the house, and the only thing you could do was laugh with him.
Rasante was someone who always put others before himself and was an extremely loyal friend. Shontae details times when he begs to let his friends stay at their house because they did not have anywhere to go for the night. He would provide clothing in cold weather and food for those who went hungry. Rasante would rather get in trouble than let his friends go without anything if he knew he could help. His mother remarks that this quality in him, his trust and seeing the good in others, is what leads to that devastating day.
After the death of Tyler Lawrence, another teenager killed this past January, the Osorio family wonders how this can continue to happen without intervention from the city. Although Tyler’s murderer has since been caught and indicted, Rasante’s murderer continues to walk free. Without discounting the pain the Lawrence family feels for their lost ones, the Osorios are still left with no answers, no leads, and are unable to begin the grieving process.
Not only does this tragedy seem unheard of because of his age, but because of the type of person Rasante was. Kerrie continues to portray him as well-rounded, loving, affectionate, and overprotective, particularly of his mother. Kerrie states the facts saying he was killed in broad daylight, in front of a store with security cameras and yet there are no leads at all. There has not even been anything more on the news since two days after his death. Rasante had his whole life ahead and it was robbed from him.
Shontae was asked to be included in this year’s walk for peace, taking place on Mother’s Day. Every year, anybody who has lost a loved one to street violence comes together to get their names out there and ensure that they will not be forgotten. The goal of this walk is to empower survivors and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss to cultivate cycles of peace and healing.
There is a part of Shontae’s life missing, and nothing has been able to fill the void of losing her son. It is something that no one imagines happening, yet here it is occurring again and again. They need to know he is not being forgotten. This family deserves the answers they seek and justice for Rasante. It is one of the only plausible ways to lessen this family’s pain and everything that they have been through the past 6 months. As the DA claimed, Rasante’s case will not be buried, so they should be doing their best to ensure the Osorios can not only get closure but justice for him as well.