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Gang members fatally shot disabled man on bicycle, court records allege

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David C. Velazquez and Terrell Bradley

David C. Velazquez, left, and Terrell Bradley

CROWN POINT — Two alleged gang members were in custody Thursday on charges they fatally shot a mentally disabled man as he rode his bicycle May 25 in North Hammond, court records showed.

David C. Velazquez, 21, of Hammond, and Terrell Bradley, 23, of Calumet City, each are facing one count of murder in the homicide of 26-year-old Asael Wilson, of East Chicago.

A third suspect, a 41-year-old man, was named in court records, but there was no public record of a case against him.

Hammond police learned from witnesses and surveillance video that Wilson was riding his bicycle north on Indianapolis Boulevard about 7:45 p.m. May 25 when an aqua-colored minivan turned south from State Line Road and accelerated toward him.

As the van rounded the corner, its passenger sliding door opened, its backseat passenger pointed a gun and several shots were fired at Wilson at point-blank range, Lake Criminal Court records state. 

Several muzzle flashes appeared to come from the firearm, and Wilson was knocked off his bicycle, records state.

Wilson immediately stood up and limped across the street into a McDonald's restaurant, where he collapsed and staff called for medics.

The aqua-colored van, which also was occupied by a driver and front seat passenger, continued traveling south on Indianapolis Boulevard and appeared to take the on-ramp to the Indiana Toll Road, records state.

Hammond police identified Velazquez as a suspect by using facial recognition technology, according to court documents. 

This episode of the "Riding Shotgun with NWI Cops" series takes viewers around Munster in the midst of the holiday season.

Authorities identified a third man by comparing surveillance images with banking records related to purchases he made in the area at the time of the homicide, records state.

A Chicago police officer identified Bradley as a member of the Spanish Vice Lords street gang after Hammond police circulated surveillance images of him, documents state. Velazquez and the third suspect also are alleged to be members of the gang.

Velazquez has pleaded not guilty. He was arrested in November and had a hearing scheduled for Thursday on his petition to let bail.

Murder defendants typically are not afforded bail, unless a court determines that proof is not evident or the presumption of guilt of murder — not a lesser offense such as voluntary manslaughter — is not strong.

John Cantrell, Velazquez's defense attorney, said his client didn't commit the crime.

"The police have the wrong guy," Cantrell said. "I intend on proving this at the bail hearing."

Defense attorney Michael A. Campbell represents Bradley, who was in custody at the Cook County Jail, records showed.

"Mr. Bradley is innocent of this charge, and we are eager to establish it in court," Campbell said.

Charging documents detail how police used a witness's description of an aqua-colored Honda Odyssey with temporary license plates, multiple surveillance videos, license plate reader data, body camera footage of the third suspect driving an aqua-colored Honda Odyssey, bank records and physical descriptions — including clothing and tattoos — to identify the three suspects.

Wilson's family told police he had a mental disability and often rode his bike from his home in East Chicago to a relative's home on Chicago's East Side.

Wilson left his relative's home in Chicago on his bike about two hours before he was shot with the relative's debit card, which he planned to use to purchase food. The relative did not know of anyone who would want to harm Wilson, documents state.

Velazquez, Bradley and the third suspect likely first spotted Wilson as he waited in line at a Dairy Queen while they were parked at a Luke's gas station across the street, records allege.

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