Local Haitian immigrants interviewed by GBH News Wednesday agreed: no matter where you stand on the factionalized, contentious and often violent politics of Haiti, the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse was a major blow, further destabilizing a country that has yet to recover from the devastating earthquake of 2010 and Hurricane Matthew five years later.

Many of the more than 46,000 Haitians living in the Commonwealth are reacting with shock to the assassination of that country's president on Wednesday morning. But their opinions of the attack are also deeply divided.

“Anybody's death is tragic, but, like, he wasn’t really a great person,” said Ely Bonheur, a customer at Le Foyer Bakery in Mattapan — a shop that draws Haitians from all around the region. “He killed a lot of people, he was taking a lot of money from the people in the country... It’s tragic that he died, but it's kind of like he asked for it at the same time.”

A squad of gunmen assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and wounded his wife in an overnight raid on their home, inflicting more chaos on a country that was already enduring gang violence, soaring inflation and protests of his increasingly authoritarian rule.

Bonheur of Mattapan is a second generation Haitian-American who has never set foot in Haiti but closely monitors events there. He says he hopes one day to visit the nation of his parents' birth but fears instability will only increase in the weeks and months following the assassination.

Moïse was "very arrogant. He doesn't do nothing, and he has a lot of gangs in the country,” said Kate, another bakery customer, who would not give her last name. “They're killing — pregnant women get killed, priests get killed, elderly get killed, civilians get killed. Every single one get killed. He never said a word. We've been complaining all the time. Every time that people take the streets to demand better living condition, he hired mercenaries to kill them. So now, karma.”

Others expressed sympathy for the president and his wife — who was injured in the attack — and said the assassination was an attack on democracy itself.

Moïse's wife, Martine, was in stable but critical condition and was being moved to Miami for treatment, according to the Haitian ambassador to the United States.

For many local immigrants, the upheaval stirred fears for loved ones still in Haiti. Jean Jeune, a liaison for the Haitian community in Cambridge, said his phone rang continuously all morning. "We are devastated," he told GBH News. "Everybody here is panicking ... and they want to know what's going on and what we are going to do."

"There is a huge void right now," said Pierre Noel, the executive director of the Haiti Development Institute at the Boston Foundation. "You no longer have a president, and you also do not have a parliament." The chief justice of the Haitian Supreme Court recently died of COVID-19, Noel said, so "this makes for a very confusing situation right now, politically.”

Noel said it is impossible to know what the next few weeks may bring, but Haiti's history of instability does not bode well.

Haiti already appeared to be heading for volatility ahead of general elections later this year. Moïse had been ruling by decree for more than a year after failing to hold elections, and the opposition demanded he step down in recent months, saying he was leading the country toward yet another grim period of authoritarianism.

“[This is a] very sad and hard blow for the Haitian people and our experience with democracy," Noel said. "There's an opportunity now, though — and I say opportunity because I'm an optimist ... We have to look at good leadership, strong institutions — and strong and efficient institutions."

Haitian community leaders plan to meet later this week in the Boston area to discuss the volatile situation in the island nation, though details are still being worked out.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.