How Does ‘Horseplay’ Explain The Shooting Death of Bradley Bassey Eyo?

I put down this case once, but the final quote from a Dallas Morning News article wouldn’t let go of me. “He kissed his mother on the cheek and said ‘Don’t worry Mr. Eyo, we’re going to find who killed Bradley,’ that’s coldblooded.” This quote comes from Oyo Bassey Eyo, father of Bradley Bassey Eyo, who was shot by Nicky Van Exel.

Nicky made this sly comment to Oyo just one day after he had shot Bradley with his stepfather’s shotgun, dragged his body down the stairs, put it his SUV, then drove it to a place near Lake Ray Hubbard, and dumped it. Oh, before dumping it, Nicky thought to steal a pair of Nike Air Jordan shoes, two cell phones, and some jewelry.

Nickey Van Exel
Why did Nickey get a shotgun out of daddy’s closet and pull the trigger on his ‘friend?’

My understanding here, is that since another felony takes place at the time of the shooting, robbery, the police are able to charge Van Exel with capital murder. Then there is the circumstance of premeditation implicit in Nicky’s confession, the hiding of the body and other details that I learned from a Dallas Morning News article (Ex-Mav Nick Van Exel’s son accused of capital murder in friend’s death, by Jon Nielsen).

Those details are the cleaning up of blood in his bedroom after returning from the depositing of the body. Then the SUV needed a good scrubbing down. Furthermore, he had to get rid of the shotgun, so he drove to the 9600 block of Forest Lane, and threw it in a creek. I grew up in North Dallas, but don’t remember the exact path that Forest Lane takes when it rambles up into the Garland area.

So the question of this being an accident is why I returned to this story this morning. These sort of accounts are a dime a dozen, since I grew up in Houston in the early 1960s, where a husband shooting his wife was an everyday occurrence to me, projecting from our tiny black and white TV screen, comes gratuitous violence involving cheap handguns, boilerplate feature from your local news station, like apple pie, around the clock normal everyday.

Lake Ray Hubbard
The crime scene at Lake Ray Hubbard where the body of Bradley Bassey Eyo was discovered.

But with this one we have an NBA basketball star entering the picture. What I mean, is that a former NBA guard Nick Van Exel is the father of Nickey Van Exel, and this raises flags about how the kid was brought up, and how did the fact that he was the son of a sports star factor into his psychological makeup. An example is why would he rob this young man if he was not in want of anything materially speaking?

And now I go back to the actual incident itself. For me, it’s a little odd that Bradley would go across the street to visit his old friend at 1:00 AM, just one hour after Christmas day had ended. Was there a cell phone contact that precedes his random visit? Why didn’t he just see him during normal daylight hours? Was there another purpose for the visit? This just doesn’t add up; okay, it’s very suspicious!

And then to couple this with the disturbing account of ‘horseplay’ with a shotgun, really? Since when does a young man get out his daddy’s (stepdad, I believe) shotgun, point it at his friend, and fire? Why didn’t Nickey check to see if the shotgun was loaded? A better version perhaps, is at one point he could have gotten angry with his friend, then removed (implies thoughtfulness) the gun from the closet to threaten his pal? This would be a more logical scenario for how this ‘accident’ may have gone down. *(Note: only a simulation of how events may have happened.)

So the reason why I returned to this per usual horror story is that it’s anything but ordinary. In fact, it gets weirder and weirder the more you think about it. One can’t help but wonder whether it was a drug deal gone south. I know you have thought of that already, but, I will point out, there’s no evidence of this possibility yet. It plays with your head, though! Nonetheless, horseplay with a loaded shotgun? I don’t think so!

I’ll quote from the father, Oyo Eyo, again. Oyo seems like a very nice man, from what I can tell, and it made me most sad when watching him show the news cameras a family portrait from four years ago. But as nice as Oyo is, he’s not buying the cover story provided by Paul Johnson, Van Exel’s attorney, that Bradley’s death was a mere accident.

“If it was accidental, he wouldn’t have gone to dump his body at the lake. He could’ve called 911. I don’t know what transpired in the house. Maybe it was premeditated, I don’t know, but how can he point a shotgun at his friend?”

Exactly! I suspect more clues will be uncovered by the Dallas police when they make inquiries into these two young men’s ‘friendship.’ Afterall, Bradley had been away at college and probably didn’t have contact with Nickey too often. The way I see it, something very personal, possibly a ‘business deal’ gone wrong, ticked Nicky off in his bedroom, only an hour after Christmas had passed away. Yea, I’m speculating, but how would you explain getting a loaded shotgun out of daddy’s closet?