BOSTON (USA TODAY SPORTS / AP) -- Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday in a July 16, 2012 double slaying of two Boston men as "the principal, the shooter, the person responsible for taking these lives,'' Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said at a morning news conference.
The two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, were shot as they sat in a car at a stop light in Boston's South End.
Conley said Hernandez would be arraigned next week and that after a "chance encounter" in a Boston night club, Cure, the former Patriots tight end followed behind in an SUV, then pulled up alongside the victims' car on the right and fired a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver multiple times from the driver's side into the passengers side of the victims' vehicle.
Hernandez also faces charges in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough, Mass. last year.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the Lloyd case. He was arrested and charged last June 26 and is being held without bail after Lloyd's body was found near his North Attleborough home June 17.
Messages left with Hernandez's lawyers, Michael Fee and James Sultan, by USA TODAY Sports were not immediately returned.
When contacted by USA TODAY Sports, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team had no comment on Thursday's developments.
Police have said they were shot by someone who drove alongside the two victims in an SUV with Rhode Island license plates and opened fire.
"For us this case was never about Aaron Hernandez,'' Conley said. "This was about two victims who were stalked, ambushed and senselessly murdered in the streets of the city they called home.''
"This case was never about Aaron Hernandez and his notoriety; this case is about the victims, about accountability about getting justice.''
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans characterized it as "a chance encounter.''
"Mr. de Abreu and Mr. Furtado were ambushed and executed as they drove home along Shammut Avenue in Boston's South End in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012,'' Conley said.
The indictment also alleges three counts of armed assault with intent to murder and one count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.
Said Conley: "These indictments reflect shots fired at three surviving victims who were in the automobile with Mr. Abreu and Mr. Furtado at the time of the homicides. The indictments further charge Aaron Hernandez for unlawfully carrying a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver he used in the attack.''
Conley said the victims arrived at the Boston night club Cure around 12:30, while Hernandez and another man entered the club at the same time.
Their chance encounter triggered a series of events that culminated in their deaths.
Conley made a point to say the two victims were not members of a Cape Verdean gang, adding "Nothing could be further from the truth.''
Conley said from last June forward, there were a number of significant developments, including the recovery of the car used in the slayings from a Hernandez relative's garage in Bristol, Conn., plus the recovery of the weapon from a person with ties to Hernandez.
Conley said it is possible other charges could be brought as the grand jury remains open.
As to the indictment returned against Hernandez's cousin Tanya Singleton, she was provided immunity. But she refused to testify.
Conley said the indictments represent nearly two years of investigation and over 80 exhibits to the grand jury.