Chicopee man ordered held without bail in Walmart bathroom shooting in Hadley 

  • Northampton District Court GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Managing Editor
Monday, December 06, 2021

NORTHAMPTON — A Chicopee man charged with shooting and injuring two teenagers in a bathroom at the Hadley Walmart in August was ordered held without bail until trial because he poses a danger to the community, Hampshire Superior Court Judge Richard Carey ordered Tuesday.

Wilmer Alvarez-Vargas, 26, was arraigned and pleaded not guilty on Nov. 16 to two counts of armed assault with intent to murder; two counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury; unlawful possession of a firearm; unlawful possession of a loaded firearm; and unlawful possession of ammunition.

The Aug. 22 shooting left two teenagers with life-threatening injuries.

In court, Northwestern Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Suhl argued that the community would be at risk if Alvarez-Vargas was released, noting that he had shot one of the teenagers, who were strangers to Alvarez-Vargas, in the face and leg and the other in the chest, back and arm, resulting in injuries that required both of them to be hospitalized for weeks.

She also argued that the shooting was committed in a public store on a Sunday night, prompting shoppers to run in fear after hearing the gunshots, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

Defense attorney Nikolas Andreopoulos, who is representing Alvarez-Vargas, urged Judge Carey to release him on bail, arguing that his client was eager to defend himself in court and was not a flight risk, according to the DA’s office.

Alvarez-Vargas has been in custody since the Aug. 22 incident and was ordered held after a dangerousness hearing following his arrest and arraignment in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown. Judge Carey ordered that he continue to be held pending the outcome of the case.

The shooting victims, Juan Hernandez, 18, of Schenectady, NY, and Jeruan Matos Colon, 19, of Springfield, were earlier indicted by a Hampshire grand jury for charges stemming from the same incident.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty on Nov. 9 to charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of a loaded firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition. His bail was set by the court at $2,500. Matos Colon has pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a Class A substance (heroin) with intent to distribute and possession of a Class B substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute. The court set bail for him at $1,000.