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The murder of University of Miami football player Bryan Pata in 2006 shook the team and the community as a whole, and almost 11 years later his killer remains on the run.
Pata, 22, was the youngest of nine siblings raised by a single mother, with the potential for NFL stardom.
“He wanted to make it to the NFL and make my mother proud and he wanted to help his family,” brother Edrick Pata told NBC 6.
Pata, a senior defensive tackle for the Hurricanes, left practice on November 7th, 2006, and never returned to the field. When he got out of his car at his Kendall apartment complex police believe he was ambushed.
“We believe that this person was waiting for Bryan Pata. We don’t know exactly where this person was positioned, but there are trees and shrubbery and concrete walls in close proximity,” Miami-Dade Police Det. Miguel Dominguez said.
Detectives say Pata was walking from his car toward the stairs at the apartment building when he was shot. The complex is located off of Southwest 77th Avenue and 93rd Street.
“His girlfriend at the time was inside the apartment. She thought she heard his voice and when she went outside Bryan Pata was discovered deceased,” Dominguez said.
Police say this was a calculated murder and although they are looking into every possible motive, Pata’s brother believes the reason is clear.
“I believe it was more so the jealousy, a lot of jealousy,” Edrick Pata said. “The way Bryan carried himself, he was very bold, he was confident in what he did, he was confident he was going to graduate college, he was confident he was going to get drafted to the NFL.”
Almost 11 years later, the Pata family continues their quest for closure. They hope the person or people responsible walk in their shoes and come forward.
“If they could from the bottom of their hearts, this happened 10 and half years ago, 11 years ago, they’re more mature now,” Edrick Pata said. “If you could find the guts, you know, we’ve forgiven this individual a long time ago. There is nothing we can do to bring Bryan back, nothing we can do, but we have Bryan’s memory.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.