The Connecticut man who claims Aaron Hernandez shot him after visiting a Miami nightclub in February was convicted of selling narcotics in 2006, according to state records.
Alexander S. Bradley, who is suing the New England Patriots tight end from Bristol for more than $100,000 in damages, told police after they arrested him that he'd been dealing cocaine for at least eight months. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail in July 2006.
Bradley, of East Hartford, was the target of an investigation by the East Central Narcotics Task Force, records indicate. Efforts to reach his lawyers for comment were unsuccessful.
A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department report on the shooting indicates that Bradley was found on the ground bleeding from his head and hand about 6:45 a.m. Feb. 13 in an industrial area of Riviera Beach, Fla. He insisted to the man who found him and a police officer who arrived shortly thereafter that he did not know who shot him.
He was not cooperative with police and refused to answer questions, saying it hurt to speak.
As reports swirled around Hernandez and a homicide investigation into an acquaintance's death, one report surfaced Thursday that Hernandez may have known gang members in Bristol. Lt. Donn Watson, spokesman for the Bristol Police Department, said the city did have organized gang activity in the 1980s and '90s but that "it's pretty much been eliminated."
Watson had no comment on Hernandez, who has no arrest record with the department.
Also Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that in 2007 Hernandez was interviewed by police about a shooting in Gainesville, Fla., where he attended the University of Florida. The paper had reported at the time that Hernandez and "a friend from his Connecticut hometown" were among those interviewed. They were not charged in the case.
In Bristol, some young residents said that they have had positive interactions with Hernandez, who now lives in North Attleborough, Mass.
"He's actually a nice guy, very outgoing, very positive," said Austin Raymond, 17, a student at Bristol Central High School, where Hernandez was a star before playing at the University of Florida. Raymond said he didn't know Hernandez personally but had run into him at school over the years.
"Whenever I saw him I never saw him being that kind of guy," Raymond said. "Everybody just thought that he wouldn't do something like that."
Jordan Pelletier, 18, said he'd never met Hernandez, but his reputation around town was generally positive.
"I don't really know, to tell you the truth," Pelletier said. "I didn't expect him to do something like that."
Jonathan Pinero, 24, a Patriots fan, said he's heard people talking about Hernandez around Bristol and reactions have been mixed.
"I work in a bar so you hear it a lot, sports talk and stuff," Pinero said. He said his grandfather told him that Hernandez "did have kind of a history" but didn't provide details.
"He always seemed like that kind of person," Pinero said. When asked if he was surprised by the news that Hernandez was being questioned in a homicide, Pinero said it's "concerning" but he's not shocked.
Pinero said it seems whatever history Hernandez might have had in Bristol has followed him despite his success.
"You would think, 'Hey you're famous. Now just tone it down,'" he said.
The lawsuit, filed on Bradley's behalf, alleges that Hernandez and Bradley were at Tootsie's strip club in Miami on Feb. 13 when the two had an argument. They left the club in a car with two other people and drove toward Palm Beach.
Hernandez had a gun, which he was not licensed to have, the complaint states. He "caused the gun to go off while aiming it at the defendant," the lawsuit states.
The complaint alleges that Hernandez was reckless, negligent and intended to harm Bradley. It also states that Hernandez's actions were deliberate.
Bradley's attorney, David Jaroslawicz, said that once Hernandez responds to the court action, he can begin hearing testimony and "hopefully find out what happened."
Jaroslawicz filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Florida on Wednesday. He said the complaint was filed earlier in the month but withdrawn because there was an error in it. A corrected version was filed again.
Bradley had injuries to his right hand and arm, as well as the right side of his face, Jaroslawicz said. He had multiple surgeries to reconstruct his face and will require more, according to the complaint. Plates and screws were surgically inserted in Bradley's face, hand and arm, and he has lost the use of his right eye, the lawsuit says.
Bradley acknowledged to police after they arrested him in 2006 that he had been dealing cocaine for at least eight months.
Bradley was arrested by the East Central Narcotics Task Force in March 2006 as part of a wide-ranging drug investigation, according to police reports. When police searched the East Hartford home he shared with his mother they found cocaine, marijuana and more than $800 in cash, according to the report prepared by Manchester police Officer John Rossetti.
The police report said that Bradley was arrested as he drove away from the house as the task force was preparing to execute a search warrant for the Mountain View Drive home where he lived with his mother. Bradley was charged with selling narcotics. He pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2006 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
It is unclear how long Bradley has known Hernandez or what their connection was.
Hernandez was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He was The Courant's state defensive player of the year in 2006, and his brother D.J. Hernandez was a quarterback at UConn.