Walmart

2 People Shot in Bathroom of Mass. Walmart Facing Drug Charges

Juan Hernandez, 20, and Jeraun Matos, 21, were seriously injured when they were shot inside a Walmart bathroom on Aug. 22

NBC Connecticut

Two men who were seriously injured in a Walmart bathroom shooting in Hadley, Massachusetts, are now facing drug-related charges.

Juan Hernandez, 20, of Schenectady, New York, and Jeraun Matos, 21, of Springfield, were arraigned from their hospital beds Tuesday at Baystate Medical Center where they continue to recover from their injuries, the Northwestern District Attorney's office announced.

Hernandez and Mato have been hospitalized since they were shot on Aug. 22. One was shot in the face and leg. The other was shot in the arm and chest. Hadley police said they found the shooting victims -- who were initially said to be ages 18 and 19 -- when officers drove up to the traffic stop where the two suspected in the shooting were detained.

During Tuesday's arraignment via Zoom, Hernandez pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a Class A substance (heroin) with intent to distribute, possession of a Class B substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute and carrying a loaded firearm without a license, conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession of ammunition without an FID card, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Matos pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a Class A substance (heroin) with intent to distribute, possession of a Class B substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute; and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Hernandez was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail, while Matos is being held on $7,500 cash bail. Pretrial conferences for both have been scheduled for Sept. 28. Defense attorney Rachel Lauder, who represented both men at their arraignment, agreed to the bails that were set without prejudice, meaning the defendants may later seek to reduce the bail after they are released from the hospital.

Two Massachusetts Walmarts have become coronavirus hot spots.

Investigators allege that Hernandez and Mato were shot inside the Walmart bathroom by Wilmer Alvarez, before he took off in a vehicle where Keyla Hernandez was a passenger.

The pair was arraigned on Aug. 23 in connection to the shooting and alleged drug dealing.

At his arraignment, Alvarez, 26, of Chicopee, pleaded not guilty to two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, and charges of possession of a Class A substance (heroin) with intent to distribute, possession of a Class B substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm without a license and possession of ammunition without a license.

Alvarez was back in court earlier Tuesday as a judge considered a motion filed by Northwestern Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Suhl asking that Alvarez be detained on the grounds that he posed a danger if released. Wilmer’s attorney, Nikolas Andreopoulos, did not object to the motion.

Alvarez was detained without prejudice, which means he can return to court at a later date to seek release.

During her arraignment, Fernandez, 32, of Holyoke, pleaded not guilty to these charges in connection with the incident: accessory after the fact, misleading a police officer, possession of a Class A substance (heroin) with intent to distribute, possession of a Class B substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm without a license and possession of ammunition without a license.

According to the district attorney, Fernandez faces charges as a joint venturer with Alvarez in relation to the firearm and drugs. She is due to return to court for a pre-trial conference on Sept. 20.

Hadley police and the district attorney's office continue to investigate this case.

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