12:00 AM THURSDAY – In a tragic turn of events, Miami football player Bryan Pata was found shot to death at his apartment complex, located on the 9000 block of S.W.. 77 Ave. in Kendall Tuesday night. He was 22 years old.
Police responded to a shooting call and arrived on the scene around 7:30 p.m. to find Pata near some bushes in the parking lot area. He was dead when they discovered him.
Later that evening, the University of Miami Athletic Department released a statement and held a team meeting to brief the players on what had happened.
“Tonight the University of Miami tragically lost a member of our football family, Bryan Pata,” the statement read. “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.
“Our players are deeply saddened and are grieving. We ask that their privacy be respected in the coming days.
“The University of Miami urges anybody with any information on this tragedy to contact the Miami-Dade Police Department Homicide Bureau or Crimestoppers.”
Details of the shooting were not immediately available because the homicide investigation is ongoing. It is believed that the investigation of Pata’s death is being treated strictly as a homicide, without any element of robbery involved.
“The case is being treated as a shooting and Homicide is working as we speak,” Det. Robert Williams said. “It is still early in the investigation.”
Late Tuesday night and continuing Wednesday, Miami-Dade police officers began questioning residents of the Colony Apartment complex. According to The Miami Herald, Pata was last seen on campus leaving football practice hours before the shooting.
At the team meeting later that evening, grief counselors were present to help Pata’s teammates.
“We’re trying to get through a hard time right now and it’s going to take time,” back-up quarterback Kirby Freeman told the Associated Press after the meeting. “And that’s what being a close football family is all about. We’re going to help each other with this.”
Pata was majoring in criminology and he played in all of the Hurricanes’ nine games this season, starting eight of them.
Pata would have likely been chosen in this spring’s NFL Draft, and was rumored to be a third round pick. He had compiled 13 tackles and two sacks on the season.
This is the third student death in the past month and second in the last week for UM. It was the first killing of a member of the student body since Marlon Barnes, also a member of the football team, and Timwanika Pumpkins were slain in their on-campus apartment on April, 13 1996.
“The University of Miami is mourning the tragic loss of two of our students in just one week,” President Donna E. Shalala said in a e-mail message to the UM community. “John Warnecke, a senior majoring in international studies and Spanish, died last Thursday in a terrible automobile accident. And last night Bryan Pata, a senior majoring in criminology, was killed near his apartment in Kendall. Both were expected to graduate in May.”
Campus chaplains and counselors are available as a resource for all students. They may be reached at 305-284-5511. Crime stoppers may be contacted at 305-471-TIPS.
A memorial for Bryan Pata will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at noon in Gusman Concert Hall.
A memorial for John Warnecke will be held on Monday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m. in the Episcopal Center.
Please visit www.thehurricaneonline.com for the most up-to-date information regarding this developing story.
Denis Brown may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org