Records released by the Little Compton Police Department last Wednesday reveal more details about the death of Swansea resident Steven Velozo, who died at a house party on Pottersville Road in Little …
Records released by the Little Compton Police Department last Wednesday reveal more details about the death of Swansea resident Steven Velozo, who died at a house party on Pottersville Road in Little Compton last October.
Police have long declined to comment or release details on the death. Earlier this year, a statewide grand jury was convened to determine whether charges should be sought, following a report by the Office of the Massachusetts Medical Examiner which found that Velozo died of mechanical asphyxia, which occurs when physical force interferes with the uptake or delivery of oxygen. In April, the Rhode Island grand jury determined that no criminal charges should be brought against any person in connection with the death.
According to records released at the request of the Sakonnet Times, Velozo died during a party at his mother’s Pottersville Road home on Saturday, Oct. 1. After receiving an emergency call at 9:15 p.m. for unresponsive male, Senior Patrolman Jon Pomerleau, assisted by Junior Probationary Patrolman Stewart Braman, arrived at the scene, where a party was breaking up.
“[We] observed a large gathering of individuals in front, outside of the home,” said Pomerleau, before recalling walking into the home to find Velozo on the floor, with two witnesses administering CPR.
Multiple witnesses went on to describe Velozo as “highly intoxicated” prior to the 911 call, with one witness adding that he was unsteady on his feet and kept falling over. After reportedly discovering that an uninvited neighbor had shown up to the party and remained there despite being repeatedly asked to leave, Velozo became visibly agitated, witnesses recount.
“Velozo allegedly lunged at a party-goer who he believed was [the neighbor],” Pomerleau wrote in his narrative. Witnesses corroborated that Velozo had mistaken the person for the uninvited neighbor and began “pushing him around the kitchen.”
Velozo and the individual reportedly began to get violent, and upon intervention from bystanders, Velozo pushed one witness to the ground multiple times, police wrote. Bystanders had to work together to restrain Velozo, bringing him to the ground in a “controlled grapple,” as one witness recalled.
The witness said he and other bystanders “were able to pin Velozo’s arms and legs and prevent him from thrashing about,” and “commanded Velozo to calm down repeatedly.” Pomerleau wrote. After "what could have been a minute,” a witness said, Velozo became unresponsive.
After the arrival of Little Compton police and the subsequent arrival of Tiverton Fire Department, Velozo was transported to St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River. He was pronounced dead 12 minutes later, at 10:23 p.m.
The victim’s mother, Zoleen Velozo, confirmed the other witnesses’ testimonies.
In her statement to police, Velozo said her son had been having respiratory issues in the few weeks leading up to his death. And despite what happened, she said she didn't believe charges were warranted.
“Everything happened so fast,” Velozo's mother recalled. “But there was nothing wrong or bad. Nobody did anything wrong ... there was no foul play at all.”
Velozo, a former Somerset resident, was an avid bowler and an accomplished chef who worked as a food service director for Berkshire Healthcare.