FOX UNDERCOVER - A man who survived a drive-by shooting last year that left two of his friends dead tells FOX Undercover that he believes former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez pulled the trigger.
The explosive allegation is the first time the public has heard from an eyewitness to the July 2012 South End shooting. FOX 25 was the first to report that investigators were eyeing Hernandez as a possible suspect in the crime.
The man, who asked that he not be identified for fear of his own safety, says he is haunted by not knowing why the gunman opened fire on his friend's car
"They just came up and started firing for no reason at all," he told FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet.
The man, now 26, was in the middle of the back seat, two friends beside him, two others in the front. All were good friends from Cape Verde.
The group had just left Cure Lounge in Boston's Theater District. He recalls only a good time: some drinking, some of them were dancing. As he thinks about the night, as he does every day, he remembers no fights, nothing out of the ordinary.
"We never had any trouble. We were not those kind of people. We were just having fun," he said.
They left at 2 a.m., closing time at Cure. Pulling up to a red light on Shawmut Avenue, getting ready to turn left onto Herald Street, an SUV suddenly pulled up next to them.
The man says he heard someone shout, "What up, Negroes?" and then the bullets started flying.
"Things happened so fast. I was trying to defend myself," the witness said. "They were shooting everywhere inside the car, front to back. They just came to kill. That's it."
Danny Abreu was in the driver's seat, Safiro Furtado next to him. Both were killed.
For months, he was as baffled as investigators, not knowing who committed the crime. But that all changed after Hernandez's arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd in June.
The witness says he's never been a football fan, but he recognized Hernandez's face after his arrest for the Lloyd murder. The $40 million football player's face, beamed across the country, was the man who pulled the trigger in 2012, he said.
"When I see his face, I just recognize his face. Compare his face that night to his face now. It's that face that I remember," he said.
After making the connection, he said, "I was happy on one side, sad on the other."
"I just want to know, what's the reason? What's the point? Why us?" he asked.
Those are questions investigators are also asking.
A grand jury in Suffolk County is continuing to hear evidence, probing a possible link between the Boston murders and Hernandez.
Outgoing Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says his department is making progress.
"We've got the best homicide team in the city working on that. They are putting pieces of information together and presenting it to the grand jury, working very closely with the District Attorney's Office on that case. I'm satisfied with the direction it's going in, and I think that we'll come to the right conclusions on that," he said on the FOX 25 Morning News.
FOX Undercover has also learned that investigators believe Hernandez was at Cure Lounge that night, the same place the victims enjoyed their last hours. A source says surveillance cameras in the area captured Hernandez on video.
And there is other evidence linking Hernandez to the Boston murders.
Court documents show investigators found the silver SUV with Rhode Island license plates "wanted in connection with a July 2012 Boston double homicide" during a June search of a Bristol, Conn. house frequented by Hernandez's relatives and friends.
And there's more incriminating information: the paperwork shows "the vehicle was a rental vehicle which…was rented in the name of Aaron Hernandez."
A gun believed to be used during the 2012 murders also turned up in June, found in the trunk of a car driven by Jailene Diaz Ramos after she crashed her car. Diaz Ramos is also from Bristol, Hernandez's hometown.
FOX Undercover has also learned that investigators believe Hernandez's former right-hand man, Alexander Bradley, may have been in the car with Hernandez the night of the Boston murders.
Bradley is suing Hernandez, saying Hernandez shot him in the face after a night at a Florida strip club in February.
Bradley was supposed to testify last month before the Suffolk County grand jury investigating the Boston murders, but he never showed up. Now there's a warrant out for his arrest.
But none of this information answers the lingering question: why?
"That's what I want to hear from (Hernandez). Why? What's the reason? That's the answer I'm still wanting since last year. He must be crazy," the witness said.
The witness is frustrated, but hopeful someone will be charged.
"I don't understand why it takes so long. Every street has cameras around there," he said.
As he waits for justice, he worries about his own safety.
"I don't feel safe to go out. It's kind of scary," he said.
FOX Undercover has confirmed that the man has told his story to investigators looking into the 2012 murders.
Hernandez's attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
Boston police and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office declined to comment, except to say the investigation is very active and to ask anyone with information to call Boston police.