While the investigation into the murder of Hurricane football player Bryan Pata is still active, Miami-Dade police officials say there are no new developments to report in the case.
A senior and criminology major, Pata, 22, was likely to be selected in the third round of the upcoming NFL Draft. He was shot and killed outside his Kendall apartment complex on the night of Nov. 7. Police ruled the death a homicide.
In comments made to the Palm Beach Post, witness Adrenia Lynes said she saw Pata arguing with the shooter in the parking lot outside his residence. By her account, Pata walked away from the argument and the man shot him in the back of the head. Police reported that Pata was shot multiple times.
Media reaction varied across the country. MSNBC commentator Mike Celizic suggested that the Miami football program cancelled bowl game participation in the wake of the murder, which came near the end of a season already tainted by an on-field brawl in a game against FIU.
Similar sentiments were expressed on the ESPN show “Around the Horn” by pundits Tim Cowlishaw and Jay Mariotti.
The local reaction differed considerably.
The Miami Herald and the Coral Gables Gazette both ran multiple stories about community memorials for Pata, and The Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel both featured columnists who stressed focusing on the personal and societal tragedy rather than the repercussions for the rest of the season.
Dan Le Batard, a Herald columnist and University of Miami graduate, included the Hurricane football program in a column that discussed the difficulty of changing reputations in the world of sports. He suggested that the public perception of the team was unfair.
The university itself was also subject to criticism in the aftermath of Pata’s death. A New York Times story on his murder and the reaction to it ran with the headline “Miami Slaying: Answers? Few. Reward Money? Not Very Much.”
The amount of reward money has since been increased from $1,000 to $21,000, with at least $15,000 coming from donations made by UM supporters and employees. The university also contributed $10,000 to funeral costs and donated $10,000 in proceeds from t-shirt sales to Pata’s family.
After the murder took place the family hired private investigators, who told NBC 6 they were following leads that Pata had received death threats and had been involved in a nightclub brawl.
In December, The Boston Globe reported that Boston police arrested Jerome Brody, the twin brother of Pata’s live-in girlfriend Jada, in the investigation of a gang-related shooting.
The Globe also suggested that Brody’s motive to kill Pata may have stemmed from his belief that Pata mistreated Jada.
Jada Brody, who has since transferred to Clemson, refuted the allegations, saying her brother had nothing to do with Pata’s murder.
Nate Harris may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.