MANCHESTER, NH – While Angel Padilla Nunez admitted to police that he fired 7 to 8 shots from his AK rifle Friday in an afternoon incident in a Laurel Street back alley, a judge said prosecutors did not prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that he was a danger to the public.
As a result, Judge David Anderson, presiding Monday in Hillsborough County Superior Court Northern District, set Padilla’s bail at $500 cash/surety with conditions including he turn over all weapons to Manchester police, stay 300 feet away from 239-241 Laurel St. and have no contact with Joshua John De Jesus.
The judge said that because of the “uncertainty of the facts in the cases” he was unable to find by clear and convincing evidence that Padilla’s release would be a danger to the public. However, Anderson said he did find the acts alleged were sufficiently dangerous that some cash bail was warranted.
According to court documents, police discovered through video surveillance, witness accounts and evidence collected that 19 shots were fired in the incident. They recovered four 7.62 caliber spent shell casings from an AK rifle in the alley behind 239-241 Laurel St.
Padilla, in talking with detectives, admitted to firing 7 to 8 shots from his AK rifle but said it was in response to an unknown man he saw firing a handgun into the air behind the Laurel Street address. Padilla said he was scared and did not know what the man was going to do.
Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Elena Brander asked the court to order Padilla held in preventive detention arguing he was a danger to the public. She said Padilla’s account of what happened doesn’t make sense.
Defense Attorney Liam O’Leary asked his client be released on personal recognizance bail but, if the judge declined to do that, to set it no higher than $500 cash.
He said that while his client’s action was “not the wisest course of conduct” he did not fire at someone but fired shots into the air as a response to someone else firing shots in the air.
“I think this was just a reaction to what he was perceiving at this time,” O’Leary said. It might not have been prudent, he said, but O’Leary said he didn’t think he showed any “particular dangerousness.”
According to the sworn affidavit of Detective Garrett Bombard, police were sent to 239 Laurel St. for a report of multiple shots fired at 2:52 p.m. on Friday, May 7, 2021.
One witness told police as she was leaving her apartment she heard an argument and saw the passenger in a gray sedan hold a gun out the window and fire multiple shots into the air. A second witness reported hearing an argument in Spanish before hearing multiple gunshots. He reported seeing two vehicles – a van with a car behind it.
Another witness said he heard 14 gunshots and saw two vehicles speeding down the alley, one with a Pennsylvania license plate and the other with a glossy cover over the rear plate.
Police obtained the license plate numbers from area video surveillance and identified one of the cars as a 2013 Honda Accord Cross-Tour registered to Padilla. The car was being driven by a woman.
They also obtained another video, with audio, from a residence. It initially recorded a single gunshot, followed by six gunshots in rapid succession and then another 12 gunshots, again in rapid succession. A Honda Odyssey is then recorded traveling west through the Laurel Street Southback alley followed by a Honda Accord Cross-Tour.
When police checked Padilla’s address, they found the Odyssey parked in a lot in the rear of 521 Maple St. – across the street from Padilla’s residence.
Detectives recovered more video that showed, prior to the shooting, a man driving the Odyssey away from the Nashua street address at 2:44 p.m. He was wearing dark shorts and a dark T-shirt. A minute later, two women got into a gray Honda Accord Cross-tour, also parked behind 521 Maple St.
At 2:46 p.m., a man, later identified by police as Joshua John De Jesus, 22, of 39 Nashua St., is seen on a moped leaving the Nashua Street address. He is wearing a shirt consistent to the one being worn by the front seat passenger of the Honda Odyssey, as recorded in the video from Eddy’s Barber Shop.
The moped returns to the Nashua Street address at 2:53 p.m., followed by the Odyssey and then the Accord, minutes after the Laurel Street shooting is reported.
Early that evening, De Jesus is stopped on Valley Street while driving the Odyssey. He denies any involvement and is released. The Odyssey, however, is towed because police said De Jesus did not have a license. Ultimately, police impound both the Odyssey and the Accord.
On Saturday, after his car was impounded, Padilla went to the police station to speak with detectives.
He told them that Friday afternoon he went to the area of Laurel Street to meet with family who lived there. He was driving the Odyssey and De Jesus was a passenger. Padilla’s girlfriend, Ayeicha Perez, 22, was driving the Accord and her best friend, whose name Padilla said he didn’t know, was in the car with her.
Padilla said he planned to go to a shooting range and had his “AK” rifle and “Glock” pistol in a blue backpack in the rear of the Odyssey.
When he arrived in the alley near the Laurel Street address, he got out of the van and an unknown man began firing a handgun into the air. Padilla got his AK from the backpack, loaded it and fired 7 to 8 shots into the air because he was “scared” and did not know what the other man was going to do, according to Bombard’s affidavit.
He said when he stopped firing the AK, he was standing next to the Accord. Afraid he would be arrested for firing his gun, he put in in the Accord with his girlfriend, got back into the Odyssey and drove back to his residence.
He took the rifle and the blue backpack, containing the Glock pistol, inside his residence where he unloaded both. He secured the rifle with a gun lock and put the Glock back in its case and placed the bag “up high” in the bathroom so his children could not access it.
Brander said Padilla’s account is “just not credible,” and pointed out to the judge that one witness reported hearing an argument in Spanish prior to the gunshots and another saying a passenger in the Accord fired shots into the air. She also said none of those involved called police to report the incident.
The judge asked the prosecutor if she were saying that there was coordinated activity among the parties and that they went to the area to intimidate someone. Brander said she had no information to that effect, only what she presented to the court.
“It’s concerning,” she said.
O’Leary noted that his client has a license to carry a firearm and that he has a limited criminal record.