LAWRENCE — A 24-year-old city man who was shot in the neck and left brain dead was removed from life support, family members said yesterday.
Julian Melendez was found bleeding in front of 391 Lowell St. Friday at 2 a.m. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital and was later transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where doctors performed surgery to remove the bullet. He was taken off life support later the same day.
According to a family member, Melendez was the second oldest of eight children and was the father of two boys, ages 6 and 4.
Melendez was a 2004 graduate of Greater Lawrence Technical School and had worked at an auto detailing shop and at a McDonald's.
Police Chief John Romero said Melendez's shooting appeared to be drug- or gang-related.
The day of the shooting, a woman who was with Melendez told police he was a crack cocaine dealer in Lawrence. She told police they were driving on Margin Street when a white car cut them off. A man got out of the car and tried to attack Melendez, but they were able to drive away.
After pulling over on Greenwood Street, the woman told police Melendez met with "other gangbangers" before walking toward Lowell Street. The woman said she heard a gunshot a minute later and saw Melendez's friends running back down Greenwood Street passing her car.
When the woman asked Melendez's friends what was going on, they told her to leave the area "unless she wanted to get shot."
Melendez's death is the second homicide in Lawrence this year, Romero said. On Jan. 20, a 40-year-old man from Methuen was shot across from 215 Market St., Lawrence, and later died.