Maybe it’s because Aaron Hernandez was so used to being in front of TV cameras as an NFL star that he came to ignore their existence. Recent stories about the former New England Patriots tight end suggest that he was pretty clueless about how surveillance cameras are virtually everywhere we go nowadays—and are making a record of what we do.
Now it appears that surveillance video links him to not only the murder of a good friend last year, but to a 2012 Boston drive-by shooting in which two men died and a third was wounded.
I’ve blogged here previously about news reports saying that security cameras in Hernandez’ Massachusetts home recorded him with a gun both hours before—and minutes after—his friend Odin Lloyd was shot to death last summer.
Hernandez has been charged with murder in the killing of Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston semi-professional football player whom Hernandez was angry with. Texts from Lloyd’s phone indicate he was with Hernandez the night before his body, riddled with bullets, was found June 17 in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home, news reports say. The Patriots released Hernandez after he was arrested shortly after the shooting, and he remains in jail.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the 2013 murder charge, but authorities also have been looking into his potential involvement in the 2012 shootings one year earlier.
Fox News reported recently that a newly released search warrant says that Hernandez may have pulled the trigger in the Boston drive-by shootings.
Fox reported that a detective wrote: “There is also probable cause to believe that Aaron Hernandez was operating the suspect vehicle used in the shooting homicides of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado, and may have been the shooter.”
Witnesses told police at the time of the Boston shooting that a silver or gray Toyota 4Runner or Nissan Pathfinder with Rhode Island plates had opened fire on the vehicle that Abreu and Furtado were in that night, Fox said. But police had little to go on until security cameras helped them, according to Fox.
Here’s some of what the Fox report had to say:
The first inkling that Hernandez could have been involved in the 2012 killings came after Lloyd’s death. A detective recalled recognizing Hernandez on surveillance footage from a nightclub the victims had visited shortly before they were shot on a highway overpass.”
… Then came Lloyd’s killing … and the possible connection to Hernandez.
Detectives went back to the video surveillance from the club Abreu and Furtado had been visiting and from other cameras in the area.
They located footage of Hernandez parking in a garage down the street from the club at 12:04 a.m. on July 16, 2012, according to the warrant. He was driving a silver 2006 Toyota 4Runner with Rhode Island license plates. The footage showed Hernandez and a man later identified as Bradley outside Cure Lounge a short time later. The two of them entered the club just after Abreu, Furtado and their three friends.
And although Hernandez and Bradley left nearly an hour before Abreu and Furtado, surveillance cameras captured a vehicle believed to be the 4Runner slowly circling the block as the two men and their friends walked to a parking garage to get their car.
The shootings of Abreu, Furtado and the other man were reported less than 15 minutes later several blocks from the club.