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Arrest made in beating death of Brockton pastor

Authorities have arrested a 35-year-old Brockton man and charged him with the gruesome bludgeoning death with a hammer last month of a 74-year-old pastor in that city, prosecutors said Wednesday night.

Carlos Ramon Velazquez is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Brockton District Court on a murder charge in the slaying of Lee Harmon, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s office said.

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Harmon was riding his bicycle on Clinton Street Aug. 20 en route to his daughter’s apartment when he was savagely beaten, apparently with a hammer that was recovered at the scene, officials have said.

Prosecutors have not disclosed a possible motive for the attack, which outraged residents, but have said that witnesses reported hearing a crash and a commotion, including the sound of breaking glass, followed by a verbal argument.

“This was a savage beating of a 74-year-old man that shocked and sickened our community,” Cruz said in a statement Wednesday. “The State Police detectives from my office and the Brockton police have worked tirelessly to bring the person who murdered Lee Harmon to justice.”

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Cruz added, “I also want to thank the State Police crime lab for their outstanding work in analyzing the physical evidence in this case. Finally, our thoughts and prayers are with the Harmon family.”

Neither Harmon’s family nor relatives of Velazquez could be reached for comment.

Harmon’s family described the retired educator as a beloved, selfless Pentecostal preacher who enjoyed pedaling across the city on his bike, picking up discarded aluminum cans that he would return for cash to give to homeless people.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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