A 24-year-old Bronx man who was among more than a dozen people who have filed lawsuits against an NYPD detective accused of terrorizing residents in the 42nd Precinct was fatally shot during a dispute Tuesday, sources said.
Julio Velasquez was found with a gunshot wound to his chest at 9:04 p.m. on the eighth floor of a building in the McKinley Houses, according to police sources. He was taken to Lincoln Medical Center, where he died.
Just a month earlier, Velasquez had sued Detective David Terrell, accusing the cop of intimidating a witness into falsely fingering him for a fatal shooting.
Velasquez was charged with murder and attempted murder in February 2014 and spent 29 months in jail before the case was thrown out after a witness recanted.
“He sat on Rikers Island for three years, then the charges were dropped,” said Velasquez’s brother, who declined to give his name. “It was a false arrest, everything.”
The Daily News wrote last week that lawyer John Scola is representing Velasquez and 21 other people who have or plan to file lawsuits against Terrell, and his colleague, Detective Daniel Brady, of the 42nd Precinct. So far Scola has filed 10 lawsuits and two notices of claim — the first step in suing the city.
“We represented Julio in one of the cases where we believe David Terrell falsely arrested him for murder,” Scola told The News.
“We are very sad that he was shot and killed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Scola also represents Pedro Hernandez, a Bronx teen who has become a cause celebre for bail reform after he spent a year on Rikers Island on a gun charge connected to a 2015 shooting.
Hernandez, who was released from jail last month after the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group covered his bail, is suing Terrell as well, accusing the detective of false arrest in a different shooting.
Detectives from the 42nd Precinct — which Velasquez was suing — are now investigating his death and have interviewed three male persons of interest. Investigators believe Velasquez was a member of the Bloods gang, according to sources.
Video from a surveillance camera shows that, before the Tuesday night shooting, two of the men rode an elevator in the McKinley building with Velasquez.
In the video, Velasquez points his finger and exchanges words with the two men as they exit the elevator, according to police sources.
Investigators believe one of the two men shot Velasquez a short time later, sources said.
Velasquez’s brother didn’t take any comfort in the 42nd Precinct’s investigation.
“I feel like they’re more into harassing than protecting,” the brother said. “They wonder why we say, ‘F— the police.’ We’re not ignorant people. The 4-2, they don’t care.”
Velasquez’s lawsuit says he was wrongfully accused of being one of two gunmen in the January 31, 2014, fatal shooting of Darin Capehart in the lobby of a Morrisania building. Another man, Ramon Padilla, was also shot three times in his butt and left leg but survived.
The lawsuit accuses detectives Terrell and Brady of pressuring Padilla and an unidentified witness into identifying Velasquez and another man, Salim Wilson, as the shooters.
Det. Brady even assisted Padilla in picking Velasquez out of a photo array, the lawsuit says.
Velasquez was jailed at Rikers and other detention centers in the city until September 6, 2016, when all the charges against him were dismissed after the witnesses recanted, sources said.
Aside from the cases handled by Scola, Terrell has been sued seven other times over false arrests.
The detective turned the tables last week when he filed a notice of claim against the city, accusing it of not sticking up for officers against bogus lawsuits and opting to settle cases rather than fight the allegations.