8:40 AM PT -- Officials say they HAVE the murder weapon ... a .38 caliber revolver ... which they believe Hernandez used to kill the two men.
Officials also believe Hernandez didn't know the victims before a "chance encounter" inside Cure nightclub hours before the shooting.
After an incident inside the club, Hernandez followed them out ... and trailed them inside his SUV. When the victim's car stopped at a red light, Hernandez opened fire. Killing 2 men and injuring a 3rd. Two other people inside the car fled from the scene on foot.
Officials say the men were "two young innocent victims" who had NO gang connections whatsoever.
Aaron Hernandez has been indicted on charges he MURDERED two people in a 2012 drive-by shooting ... in addition to the murder of Odin Lloyd. Officials believe the former New England Patriots tight end killed 28-year-old Daniel Abreu and 29-year-old Safiro Furtado as they left a Boston nightclub on July 16, 2012.
Officials believe the two men were in a BMW, along with 3 other friends, when it stopped at a light around 2AM ... and another car pulled up and opened fire, killing Abreu and Furtado.
Investigators believe Hernandez was the shooter. Officials believe the SUV Aaron was suspected of driving that night was discovered at a cousin's home in Connecticut.
It's the 3rd killing Hernandez is allegedly connected to -- he is currently locked up in Bristol County while he awaits trial for the 2013 murder of Lloyd.