Five years after being shot, disabled Fort Worth man dies

Posted Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- A 36-year-old shooting victim who died last month from complications of quadriplegia was the victim of a homicide, the Tarrant County medical examiner's office ruled Tuesday.

Abelardo Avila died Dec. 8 at a medical facility in North Richland Hills, almost five years to the day that he was shot in the head in a north Fort Worth alley. A friend, 22-year-old Joe Vasquez, was also killed.

The medical examiner's office has now ruled Avila's death was caused by complications of quadriplegia due to the gunshot wound.

Two brothers had been arrested in connection with the Dec. 9, 2007, shootings of Avila and Vasquez but were later no-billed by a Tarrant County grand jury on murder and attempted murder charges over what attorneys suggested were self-defense issues in the case.

Authorities have said that one of the brother's cars had been burglarized and that he suspected Avila and Vasquez -- occupants of a pickup -- were preparing to steal something.

A confrontation led to the brothers getting into their own vehicle and chasing the pickup. During the chase, gunshots were fired but no one was hit and it was unclear who fired at whom, police have said.

Police have said that at some point during the chase, Vasquez and Avila began pursuing the brothers, who then returned to the house.

Vasquez and Avila were shot when they showed up again later in the alley behind the brothers' house and an exchange of gunfire ensued.

"Since the case was previously presented to the grand jury and no-billed, we will make contact with the district attorney's office in the next few days to discuss whether further action is necessary," said homicide Sgt. Cheryl Johnson.

Deanna Boyd, (817) 390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd