HARTFORD — A Connecticut man believed to be a close associate of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has been arrested and ordered to appear Tuesday before a Massachusetts grand jury that is hearing testimony about an unsolved double homicide in Boston.
Alexander Bradley, 31, of East Hartford was arrested at his girlfriend’s home Friday morning and in the afternoon appeared before Judge Joan Alexander in Hartford Superior Court, where he was arraigned on charges of criminal violation of a protective order and interfering with police.
A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation has told the Globe that Bradley is believed to have information about a July 2012 shooting near a South End nightclub that left two Boston men dead. Sources have told the Globe that a Suffolk County grand jury is hearing testimony regarding that case and any possible involvement by Hernandez.
Hernandez, 23, is one of three men currently charged in the June shooting death of Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester. Hernandez faces first-degree murder and gun charges and is due back in court Wednesday.
The killings of Safiro Furtado, 28, and Daniel Abreu, 29 — who were gunned down in a drive-by shooting during the early morning hours of July 16, 2012 — remain unsolved.
Police had linked the crime to a sport utility vehicle with Rhode Island license plates, which they said they had not been able to locate until this summer.
Soon after Lloyd’s killing, Boston police began looking into whether Hernandez may have been linked to the 2012 crime and then, in July, police recovered a vehicle believed to be the one used in the crime during a search of the home of Hernandez’s uncle in Bristol, Conn.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley declined to comment Friday on Bradley’s arrest.
Once a close friend of Hernandez’s, Bradley filed a civil lawsuit against the former star tight end, alleging that Hernandez shot him in the face and left him for dead in February after the two partied together at a Miami strip club.
According to a Florida police report, employees of a John Deere tractor store discovered Bradley near their store on Feb. 13, lying on the ground, bleeding from the head with his eyes swollen shut.
Bradley told police he did not know who had shot him and refused to help them find his attacker, prompting them to close the investigation without making an arrest.
But four months later, he named Hernandez as the shooter in a lawsuit. He is seeking more than $100,000 in damages.
Hernandez, through his legal team, has not formally responded to those charges, other than to ask for the suit to be delayed until after the Lloyd murder trial.
Soon after a grand jury in Massachusetts began hearing testimony this summer, Bradley was subpoenaed to testify about what he knew about the July 2012 shootings. After asking for a hearing so he could argue against having to testify, Bradley disappeared, prompting a warrant to be issued for his arrest. When police located him Friday at his girlfriend’s Hartford home, he was allegedly violating a court order to stay away from her issued after she accused him in April of breaking into her home.
The judge ordered Bradley held on $250,000 cash-only bail on Friday.
Alexander, who called Bradley a “material and necessary witness,” then ordered that he be transported to Suffolk County Tuesday to testify before the grand jury. Bradley’s attorney, Robert Pickering, argued in court against a high bail, but was unsuccessful.
Pickering told the Associated Press that his client is not a target of the investigation, but does not want to testify. He declined to say what Bradley might know about the Boston shooting.
‘‘Do you want to be put in a national spotlight when you just want to mind your own business?’’ he told the AP.