Detectives in Boston are urging the public to come forward with information that could lead to the arrest of a suspect who allegedly stabbed a 91-year-old woman while she was walking a dog at the city’s Franklin Park.
According to WCVB, the incident happened on Tuesday night. The victim, identified as Jean McGuire, is a renowned civil rights pioneer and education activist. The nonagenarian, who was stabbed multiple times, was the first Black woman to serve on the Boston School Committee. She was also a founder of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO).
In the wake of the attack, McGuire’s friend, Jeriline Brady-McGinnis, said she believes a sexual urge may have been one of the reasons behind the attack. Brady-McGinnis also said the suspect attacked her friend from behind. McGuire was transported to the hospital after the attack, and she expected to pull through.
“She believes he was trying to rape her,” said Brady-McGinnis. “She said when he knocked her down, he was groping her and touching on her.”
Brady-McGinnis said the male suspect fled after McGuire’s dog chased him.
“Honestly, if you would’ve asked me my name at that point, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. My anger was so high I could hear my heartbeat through my whole body. My anger was that high,” she said.
“Of course, not nice things went through my head. I had to keep myself from going in my own car and doing something stupid. Because it has to be a very, very brave man that can attack a 91-year-old woman in the park.”
Kevin Hayden, who is the Suffolk County District Attorney, also said he went to the hospital to see the victim.
“Ms. McGuire is as spunky and as vibrant as ever and is going to be just fine, praise the Lord. When I walked into the room, she said, ‘Oh, look at you all grown up,'” said Hayden. “This one’s personal for me. She knows my dad. I’ve known her family for a long time.”
The attack was also condemned by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. She said McGuire was “an inspiration in every way.”
“I am disgusted and angry to know that an elder in our community had to fear for her safety going about her daily routine, walking her dog,” Wu added.
McGuire achieved a historic feat in 1981 when she became the first Black woman to be elected as a member of the Boston School Committee, WCVB reported. She was also METCO’s executive director for over 40 decades. The organization, per its website, enrolls “Boston students of color in predominantly white school districts, creating the opportunity for students in those districts to experience the advantages of learning and working in a racially and ethnically diverse setting.”
“It is alarming that this act of violence would happen to Dr. McGuire in her own community,” the METCO Directors Association said in a statement. “Dr. McGuire is a pioneer of the METCO program and an educational leader in Boston. She has been a civil rights activist for over sixty years and an individual who has sacrificed for and given so much of herself to the city of Boston. She is well-known and beloved by the entire community. As an association, we pray for her continued recovery.”
“You hear people say they would give you the shirt off their back, she’d take off her shirt and snatch somebody else’s and give it to you. That’s how her heart is. And to have this happen to her, I’m beyond words. I’m beyond words. My anger is so high right now. If I acted on it, you guys would be talking to me from bars,” said Brady-McGinnis.