Breakup might have sparked Ashley Reservoir shooting

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WESTFIELD — The shooting of a 19-year-old man near Ashley Reservoir last month is believed to have been prompted by lingering resentment over a breakup.

During a dangerousness hearing Monday for Daquan A. Douglas, one of the three men charged in the shooting, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano gave the clearest picture yet at the events surrounding the incident in October Mountain State Forest.

Douglas, 24, was ordered held without bail after the hearing in Westfield District Court.

Documents in the cases of Douglas and his two co-defendants, Kevin Nieves, 19, and Luis Delvalle-Rodriguez, 23, remain under seal, but some information regarding the shooting has been disclosed during subsequent court hearings.

The victim — who "miraculously" survived the shooting — and two friends, a male and female, went to a large party at the reservoir late on Aug. 20 or early the morning Aug. 21, Yorlano said.

Nieves, who had once dated the woman who was with the victim, was also at the party. According to at least one witness, Nieves couldn't move on past the breakup, said Dale Bass, Douglas' attorney.

The victim's group felt uneasy and decided to leave, Yorlano said, but once inside their truck, a "mob" of people — some armed with sticks and branches — began attacking the truck and eventually forced out the victim. Multiple gunshots were fired and the entire group scattered.

Police received a 911 call reporting the shooting about 1 a.m. Aug. 21. The victim, who has not been identified, was shot three times. His condition could not be learned.

That same night, Douglas was treated at Berkshire Medical Center for what was described as a minor laceration or stab wound, which may have been incurred during the incident at the reservoir.

A woman who was with Douglas at the hospital told police he was attacked by unknown people while he was playing basketball, a claim Yorlano called implausible.

Bass said police didn't speak to Douglas at the hospital and only got the "B.S. story" from the woman with whom they spoke.

During their investigation into the shooting, police established enough probable cause to obtain a warrant for Douglas' arrest. He was picked up on that warrant and arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court last week. He was held in custody pending Monday's hearing.

Bass said Douglas has not been identified as the gunman, and described as weak the state's argument to hold his client without bail. The facts presented at the hearing, he said, hadn't established Douglas was a potential threat to the victim or potential witnesses.

Bass said the case against Douglas was largely based on the woman at the hospital who gave the implausible statements and was "running her mouth" to police.

"What does the commonwealth have?" Bass asked. "Without (those statements) they have nothing," he said, and suggested a cash bail for Douglas, rather than have him be held without bail.

Judge Bruce Melikian disagreed and adopted the state's recommendation, holding Douglas without the right to bail for 120 days.

Melikian also revoked Douglas' bail on an open conspiracy to violate drug laws case stemming from December 2017.

Douglas has pleaded not guilty to charges of armed assault with intent to murder, kidnapping and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. He is due back in court on Oct. 9 for a probable cause hearing.

Meanwhile, Nieves is also being held without bail as dangerous. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of armed assault to murder, illegal possession of a loaded firearm, kidnapping, and assault and battery.

Delvalle-Rodriguez is in custody pending his own dangerousness hearing, scheduled for Tuesday in Westfield District Court. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of armed assault with intent to murder, kidnapping, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

All three cases are being heard in Westfield because of unspecified conflicts of interest among the Berkshire County legal community.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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