NEW BEDFORD — A 35-year-old city man is wanted in connection with Tuesday's double killing, authorities said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Carmelo Kercado Jr., charging him with two counts of murder, carrying an illegal firearm, carrying a loaded illegal firearm and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, according to Bristol County District Attorney's office.
Kercado is considered armed and dangerous, and the public is asked to not approach or attempt to subdue him in anyway, according to Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for DA Thomas M. Quinn III. He is described as 5-foot, 9-inches tall, about 230 pounds, black, thick beard, brown eyes and a tattoo on his back and left arm. He's also known as Melo, David Brown and Carmelo Mello, according to the DA's office.
Kercado is accused of shooting and killing Stephen Bodden, 27, of New Bedford and Taunton, and Fabio Tavares, 28, of New Bedford, while the three of them drove in a vehicle along Central Avenue around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, the DA's office said.
The killings brought the total number of homicides to eight in New Bedford for 2017.
Police received a 911 call around 1:30 a.m. in regards to shots being fired at a car at 200 Central Ave, according to the DA's office. The caller said "popping sounds" were heard before the sound of a car crash. When police arrived, they found a 2001 Honda Accord angled up against a parked car on the south side of the streets.
Bodden, who was in the driver's seat, died at the scene. Tavares was in the passenger seat and still breathing when first responders arrived. He was taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where he died later Tuesday morning.
According to the state police's Most Wanted flier, Kercado allegedly shot one victim in the head and the second man multiple times before the car crashed and he ran away. He has a criminal past, which includes convictions for possession of a loaded firearm, possession of ammunition, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, (a knife), resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.
He frequently wears eyeglasses and has ties to New Bedford, Randolph and Boston and has an unrelated warrant for possession of a Class B substance, state police said.
Bodden was released June 10 from the ACI in Cranston, R.I., for his role in the 2012 killing of a 38-year-old former Wareham man in Providence, according to Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.
He pleaded guilty in October 2014 to carrying a firearm without a license and received a 10-year sentence with six years to and four years suspended, she said. He also pleaded guilty to a felony-common law offense and received a 5-year sentence with one year to serve, she said. The sentences were served concurrently, and he also received credit for time served awaiting trial. According to Providence police, Bodden attempted to hide the gun used in that shooting.
If anyone knows Kercado's whereabouts, they are urged to either contact police at 508-991-6300 or the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section at 1-800-KAPTURE (1-800-527-8873).
The investigation is being coordinated by Assistant District Attorney Robert Digiantomaso.