“University of Miami defensive lineman Bryan Pata was shot and killed Tuesday night at his apartment complex, school officials said.
The shooting occurred about two hours after the Hurricanes ended their afternoon practice.
Pata, a 22-year-old senior who grew up in Miami, was pronounced dead in the parking lot outside his apartment, and his death was ruled a homicide, Miami-Dade police spokesman Roy Rutland said.
“Right now, we’re just gathering ourselves and just trying to pull ourselves together,” Miami athletic director Paul Dee said.
Rutland said police were called at 7:30 p.m. to the scene and found Pata’s body. He lived about 4 miles from campus.
“Tonight the University of Miami tragically lost a member of our football family, Bryan Pata,” the university athletic department said in a release. “Bryan was a fine person and a great competitor. He will be forever missed by his coaches and teammates. We offer our thoughts and prayers to his family.”
The university also urged anyone with information about Pata’s death to call police.
The circumstances around Pata’s death were not immediately clear, and Miami-Dade police did not say who made the 911 call after the shooting.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound lineman was in his fourth year with the Hurricanes. He appeared in 41 games, making 23 starts, and was expected to be a first- or second-round pick in next spring’s NFL draft.
The Hurricanes used Pata primarily at defensive tackle this season, and he had 13 tackles and two sacks.
Miami officials haven’t yet decided whether the Hurricanes will practice the rest of the week or play Saturday’s game at No. 23 Maryland, a school official said Tuesday night.
Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford was aware of the shooting and was working with Miami officials to gather information, conference spokeswoman Amy Yakola said.
It was at least the fourth time that tragedy involving a player has struck the Hurricanes in recent years.
Pata’s death was the second incident involving guns this season for the Hurricanes.
In July, reserve safety Willie Cooper was shot in the buttocks when confronted in his yard before an early-morning workout. Cooper was not seriously injured. Brandon Meriweather, one of Cooper’s teammates and roommates, returned fire at Cooper’s assailant, taking three shots that apparently missed, police said.
Several Miami players, including Pata, said that incident was a robbery attempt, and cautioned other teammates to always be aware of their surroundings.
That incident prompted Coker to say that he did not want his players to have guns, even if they possessed them legally.”
Obviously we here at Tailgate Crashers and Inside Pulse send our best to Pata’s family and friends.
But take a look at what’s going on here. Kids, COLLEGE KIDS, are becoming targets for people. The reason: They wear a jersey on the weekends.
I don’t know all the circumstances regarding the incident, but it seems as though a high number of violent incidents on college campuses and some professional fields are happening solely because a player plays for one team.
As a “wrestling expert” I can relate this to the nWo and the garbage thrown at them. But I doubt you’d ever see a fan pull a gun on Kevin Nash because of his affiliation with the nWo.
So if any of you fools read this: Put the gun down and enjoy the game. It’s a sport. The best team doesn’t always win and your favorite players don’t always come out on top. Deal with it and leave people alone, especially college kids who are playing for free (and schooling for free) while their schools count cash hand over fist. All they want to do is make it to the pros to make some cash. Leave them alone. Fools.
Credit: ESPN.com, AP