QUINCY — The fathers of two men gunned down in Boston in 2012 described the devastating toll of their loss Thursday, as their lawyer insisted that “an abundance of evidence” points to former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez as the shooter.
Speaking during an evening press conference at their lawyer’s office here, the fathers of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado held pictures of their sons and grew emotional as they spoke to reporters.
“We want to let people know that his death is killing us inside,” Furtado’s father, Salvador Furtado, 57, said through an interpreter.
Abreu’s father, Ernesto Abreu, said softly, “He was a good boy,” and broke down crying when asked to recount the difficulty of losing his son.
Both families filed wrongful death lawsuits this week against Hernandez, 24, in Suffolk Superior Court, seeking $6 million each from the jailed athlete who has been charged in another killing. Hernandez’s lawyers had no comment on the suits.
The families contend in court papers that Hernandez “wilfully, recklessly and/or maliciously shot a firearm from inside of his motor vehicle” in Boston’s South End on July 16, 2012, striking the two men as they sat in another car.
“The fatal attack was without provocation or justification,” the documents state.
Hernandez is being held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction and Jail in North Dartmouth on separate murder and weapons charges in the execution-style slaying of Odin L. Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester in June 2013. He has pleaded not guilty.
Lloyd’s body was found at an industrial park near Hernandez’s sprawling North Attleborough home. Law enforcement officials have told the Globe that investigators believe that Hernandez was worried about what Lloyd might know of the killings of Furtado and Abreu.
On Thursday, the lawyer for the families of Furtado and Abreu, William T. Kennedy, said his clients are basing their assertion that Hernandez shot the two men in part on court records that have surfaced in related investigations.
“I would respectfully submit that there is an abundance of evidence” tying Hernandez to the slayings, Kennedy said.
Hernandez has not been charged in the deaths, but authorities are looking into his possible involvement.
Court documents made public in January indicate that video from inside and outside the Cure nightclub shows Hernandez and an accomplice entering the club, directly behind Abreu and Furtado. Ten minutes later, Hernandez and the other man are seen leaving and returning to a silver sport utility vehicle about 1:17 a.m.
Abreu and Furtado left the club around 2:10 a.m., and video shows Hernandez’s silver SUV circling the block as the victims go to their BMW.
There is “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,” detectives wrote in a June search warrant affidavit.
Kennedy said multiple eye witnesses have identified Hernandez as the shooter. Three people were in the car with Abreu and Furtado on the morning of the shootings, but Kennedy would not say whether they were the witnesses.
Asked if he planned to take depositions from eye witnesses, Kennedy said, “we will be deposing anybody that we believe has material evidence.”
Officials have also told the Globe that a Suffolk grand jury was convened last fall to investigate Hernandez as the man who shot Abreu and Furtado, both Cape Verdean immigrants described by family members as hard workers with no involvement in crime.
A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley declined to comment on the civil case Thursday, but said the criminal probe into the double slaying remains “open and very active.”
Hernandez also faces a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Lloyd’s family in Bristol County, as well as a suit in Florida brought by Alexander Bradley, a former associate who police believe was with Hernandez on the night of the South End shootings.
Bradley says Hernandez shot him in the face in February 2013 after they argued at a Miami strip club.
Kennedy, the plaintiffs’ lawyer in the South End lawsuit, said during Thursday’s press conference that he was not prepared to discuss a possible motive that Hernandez may have had for shooting Abreu and Furtado.
He said in a phone interview earlier Thursday that there was a confrontation between Hernandez or those who were with him and the people who were with the victims that night. He said he is still trying to learn if the victims themselves had any exchange with Hernandez.
“They had some kind of altercation,” Kennedy said. “I think there is evidence that they had some words, but what happened hardly, for a right thinking person, a normal person, was a reason to get a gun and want two people dead.”