Murder Charges Filed for Racist ‘Road Rage’ Killing in Belmont

Henry Tapia. Photo courtesy of Danny Garcia/GoFundMe
Henry Tapia. Photo courtesy of Danny Garcia/GoFundMe

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan is pursuing murder charges against a man who allegedly used his pickup truck to kill Henry Tapia, a 34-year-old father of three, in Belmont last week.

Last Tuesday, January 19th, at around 4:20 p.m., Belmont police responded to a 911 call to find Henry Tapia, of Boston, injured in the middle of Upland Road, according to a statement from the Middlesex County district attorney’s office.

According to police, Dean Kapsalis, a 54 year-old white man from Hudson, was involved in an argument with the victim and began yelling racist slurs at Tapia, a Black man.

Tapia allegedly began to walk back to his vehicle when Kapsalis drove his Dodge Dakota pickup truck into Tapia and dragged his body a short distance along the pavement before he fled from the scene.

Police found Tapia conscious, but suffering from life-threatening injuries. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, and later died from his injuries.

Kapsalis ultimately turned himself in to police.

Prosecutors initially charged Kapsalis with charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a civil rights violation causing injury, and leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury.

On Monday, Kapsalis was arraigned on additional charges – of murder, and of leaving the scene causing death – in a virtual hearing at Cambridge District Court.

The killing has rocked the town of Belmont. On Thurday, a vigil for Tapia attracted hundreds of mourners, including Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and several elected officials.

In a Monday column in the Boston Globe, Adrian Walker recounted Tapia’s life with an interview with Tapia’s partner, Courtney Morton.

“We had so many plans — in life, for our kids,” Morton told Walker. “He wanted to be the best dad he could be to Eli, and he never wanted to miss a day of Eli’s life. And somebody took that from him. Somebody took that from my son. Somebody took that from me.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe fundraiser for Tapia’s family.

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