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APTOPIX Five Shot

BOSTON – A shooting early Tuesday left a toddler and three others dead, and a fifth person was hospitalized and not expected to survive, police said. There have been no arrests, and police have asked for the public’s help in the case.

Police responded to the Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood just after 1 a.m., Commissioner Edward Davis said.

Two men and a woman found in the street were pronounced dead at the scene.

The toddler, 2 or 3, died later at the hospital, police department spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. A man in his 30s was taken to a hospital and is not expected to survive, she said.

No names were released, and it was too early to speculate on a motive, Driscoll said.

“Right now, it’s an extremely active homicide investigation,” Driscoll said.

Investigators think the victims knew the shooter, and Davis appealed to the public for help in apprehending the suspect or suspects.

Police are looking for a silver or gray Ford Explorer that may be connected to the shooting. The vehicle was seen leaving shortly after the shooting, Driscoll said.

Police recovered a “significant amount of evidence” at the scene, Davis said, without getting specific.

The shooting took place on Woolson Street, lined with close-packed, three-story homes. Family and friends of the victims hugged and cried behind yellow police tape Tuesday as neighbors looked on, shaking their heads.

Mattapan is on the southern edge of the city near the border with the affluent suburb of Milton.

The shooting was the latest in a spike of violence in the city that has frustrated police, politicians and community leaders. There had been 50 homicides in the city as of Sept. 27, according to police department data, up from 40 in the same period last year.

The normally soft-spoken Mayor Thomas Menino was so affected by the slaying of a pizza delivery driver in early September that he told a group of college students that he would torture the three suspects, one of whom is a teenage girl. He later apologized for his remarks.

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