Miami football teammate arrested in Bryan Pata killing

A former University of Miami football player has been arrested in the killing of teammate Bryan Pata nearly 15 years ago.

Rashaun Jones of Lake City was arrested in Marion County with the assistance of U.S. Marshals, the Miami-Dade County Police Department announced Thursday afternoon.

Jones, 35, is a former Hurricanes defensive back. He will face a charge of first-degree murder, police say.

Pata, a Miami native and promising defensive lineman, was fatally shot execution-style on Nov. 7, 2006, in the parking lot of his apartment complex in Kendall after he returned home from practice. He was 22.

Rashaun Jones was arrested in the 2006 killing of Bryan Pata, his teammate on the University of Miami football team.

Jones was identified as a possible suspect in an ESPN story in 2020 but he hadn’t been charged.

“I can tell you that we could have never [made the arrest] … without the community’s help,” Det. Juan Segovia of the Miami-Dade Police Department said in a video posted on social media. “Not only did the family never give up, not only did the family never stop fighting to figure out who killed Bryan Pata, but the community never stopped contacting us. Even if we got 1,000 tips but only one of them was the one that put all the pieces together, that’s what it took. And that’s exactly what happened in this case.”

Pata, who stood 6 feet 4 and weighed 280 pounds, was remembered as a gentle giant with a big smile and the ability to play in the NFL.

His family has been waiting years to find out who killed him.

“You know, we (are) waiting so long to find the answer: who killed my son,” his mother Jeanette Pata said in a 2017 interview.

Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez wrote in a tweet: “For nearly 15 years, our Homicide investigators have relentlessly searched for the murderer of Bryan Pata. They take great pride in their work ethics as they always represent their victims. Today, along with [State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle], we brought justice to his family and our community.”

Segovia said the case was complicated because Pata didn’t have many enemies and wasn’t in trouble with the law.

“His whole world revolved around football and his family,” Segovia said. “It’s not like he had a lot of enemies. He wasn’t involved in the criminal element. He was a young man who was looking forward to a future in the NFL. That’s all he wanted to do was play football in the National Football League. He wanted to take care of his family one day.”

MIAMI-DADE POLICE RELEASED THE VIDEO BELOW ABOUT THE ARREST:

MURDER CASE SOLVED – Segment 4
MDPD Homicide detectives, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals, have arrested Rashaun Jones in connection to the 2006 murder of Bryan Pata. Thank you investigators for helping us bring justice to the family. pic.twitter.com/s8QoyHVf96

— Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) August 19, 2021

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