Aaron Hernandez’s Brother Accused of Plotting Shootings at UConn, Brown

A woman claims Dennis Hernandez went to “map the schools out,” and UConn police confirmed a car linked to Hernandez was on campus on July 7.

Aaron Hernandez’s Brother Accused of Plotting Shootings at UConn, Brown

Photo: wolterke, Adobe Stock

BRISTOL, Conn. — The brother of Aaron Hernandez, a former NFL player who died by suicide in prison in 2017 after he was convicted of murder, was arrested on July 19 after he allegedly planned and threatened to carry out shootings at Brown University and the University of Connecticut (UConn).

Dennis John “D.J.” Hernandez, 37, has been charged with threatening and breach of peace and is being held on $250,000 bail, reports USA Today. An arrest warrant from the Bristol Police Department says two women told police they were concerned about Hernandez as he had been “displaying very erratic behavior lately” and was “extremely sick and that his mental health is continuing to deteriorate.”

One of the women who said she was dating Hernandez told police she lent him her car so he could make a July 7 court date for a separate incident. She told police that Hernandez instead went to Brown and UConn where he “went into a number of classrooms and buildings at UConn.” She also told police that Hernandez said “he has a bullet for everyone” and that he loves her but even she is not safe, says the warrant. The other woman told police Hernandez went to “map the schools out” and that he threatened to fly to Florida to kill her. Hernandez is a former UConn football player and two-time captain and was a Brown quarterbacks coach in 2011.

According to Bristol police, Hernandez also made several threatening social media posts, one of which read, “Will I kill? Absolutely. I’ve warned my enemies so pay up front.” Law enforcement determined Hernandez was “gravely disabled and a danger to society” and subsequently dispatched officers to his home on July 19. Per the police report, officers surrounded the home and were on the phone with Hernandez when he allegedly said he was armed “and that if we approached him, he would kill us all.”

Hernandez then reportedly exited his home and advanced toward officers with his hands outstretched to his side yelling, “Shoot me.” Hernandez disregarded commands from police, says the report, and officers used a Taser on him. Hernandez was taken into custody and brought to a hospital to be evaluated. At the hospital, he allegedly continued to make threats, saying he “was planning to still kill (redacted) along with anyone who profited off of his brother Aaron.” He also mentioned ESPN but no specific people.

Police informed the two women about Hernandez’s arrest and one subsequently shared a screenshot of another threatening text message he allegedly sent to a family member. The message read, “UConn program is going to pay unless I have a package deal and I get my estate and every single thing I have worked for.” Hernandez also told the family member to “[remain] away from there because when I go I’m taking down everything And don’t give a (expletive) who gets caught in the crossfire… I’m prepared to give my life So if I don’t get to see you on the outside know I love you always Not all shootings are bad I’m realizing. Some are necessary for change to happen.”

The arrest warrant said Bristol police notified UConn police about the allegations on July 18 and provided them with information on the vehicle linked to Hernandez. UConn police confirmed the vehicle was on campus on July 7, and said they would continue to research the incident and conduct a threat assessment. On Tuesday, Brown officials said it did not appear Hernandez had been on campus in recent weeks but that the school will remain in contact with law enforcement.

Hernandez has had additional recent encounters with law enforcement. On March 23, he was arrested and charged with second-degree breach of peace after he threw a bag containing a brick and a hand-written note on ESPN campus after he was turned away at the security gate, according to Yahoo Sports.

“To all media outlets. It’s about time you all realeyes [sic] the affect media has on all family members,” the note allegedly read. “Since you’re a world wide leader maybe you could lead how media and messages are delivered brick by brick. Clean it up!”

Hernandez was also arrested on March 8 and charged with five motor vehicle-related crimes, including reckless driving and engaging police in pursuit.

He is due back in court on Aug. 1 on the latest charges.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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