Warrant: Murder suspect executed victim without provocation, motive unknown

On Friday, Nelson Perez, 23, went before a judge in Bridgeport Superior Court for the murder of Michael Gaines, 58.

Marissa Alter

Jun 2, 2023, 9:41 PM

Updated 318 days ago

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A Bridgeport family who lost a loved one to gun violence is one step closer to justice with the arrest of his alleged killer. On Friday, Nelson Perez, 23, went before a judge in Bridgeport Superior Court for the murder of Michael Gaines, 58.
“It's a bittersweet day,” said Tony Barr, a longtime friend to Gaines. “I want justice to be served because I do, but at the end of the day, this young man is a young man who hasn't even begun to live.”
Barr was in the courtroom for Perez’s arraignment and was joined by Michael Jones, another friend of Gaines’.
“Today means a little bit of healing for the family,” Jones told News 12. “It's not going to bring Mike back or anything. But it's just unfortunate that somebody had to die for this, for something that probably was so small.”
Perez's arrest warrant didn’t offer a motive, but it said security cameras captured what can only be described as an execution the night of April 12 at the corner of East Main Street and Arctic Street.
According to the warrant, "Suspect 1 is seen walking directly up to the victim, who was sitting down on the side of Shorty's Deli. Suspect 1 pulls a firearm out of his pocket, points it directly at the victim's head and fires the handgun one time, without any provocation, striking the victim in the head."
Police also found a shell casing at the scene that matched a shell casing they recovered from Perez’s safe, the warrant stated. When police questioned Perez, he admitted to being at the murder scene that night but said he didn’t hear anything, according to the warrant.
“On behalf of the Gaines family, we are pleased with the Bridgeport Police Department making such a speedy arrest. We are asking for justice. This does help the family take a step towards closure,” said Dennis Bradley, spokesperson for the family.
In court, the judge kept Perez’s bond at $2 million. The judge also ruled, if he bonds out, he'll be on house arrest.
Perez has two prior gun possession convictions from 2020. He was on probation at the time of the shooting.


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