Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Out for Justice: Bryan Pata
On the football field, Bryan Pata was a rising star: a University of Miami defensive lineman with dreams of playing for the NFL. But one November night, a bullet shattered those dreams and ended Bryan's life. Four years later, the case is still not solved, but Miami-Dade Police hope to change that with help from the community. Channel 7's Patrick Fraser has more in tonight's "Out for Justice."
WSVN -- Miami Hurricane fans loved number 95: Defensive Lineman Bryan Pata.
Announcer: "He has a motor that will not stop."
But no one loved Bryan as much his family adored their 6-foot-4-inch, 280-pound little brother.
Nellie Pierre, Bryan's sister: "Just a big old teddy bear, just always liked to hug you and hold you."
Bryan was a big man, but the youngest of nine kids was the baby of the family, especially close to his mother.
Jeanette Pata, Bryan's mom: "Before he sleep, he make sure to call Mommy. 'Mommy OK?' I say, 'OK.' 'I love you.' I say, 'I love you.'"
A very loving family. So tight knit, they would often have dreams about each other, and the dreams before Bryan's murder were scary.
Nellie Pierre: "My Mom woke up crying. She had a dream that somebody hurt Bryan."
Edrick had a similar dream. A much more graphic dream.
Edrick Pata, Bryan's brother: "I dreamed this in October. I saw Bryan in a casket."
Sadly, their bad dreams came through on Nov. 7, 2006, when Bryan pulled up to his apartment complex.
Detective Michael Dominguez, Miami-Dade Police: "Bryan gets out of the car. As he starts making his way toward the stairway, he gets confronted by somebody, which resulted in that individual fatally shooting Bryan Pata."
The news of Bryan's murder left the family in shock.
Edrick Pata: "I remember three words he said to me: 'They killed him.' And I remember just dropping down on my knees. I couldn't get up. I couldn't lift my head up. I couldn't breathe."
The killer shot Bryan one time in the head. Edrick is convinced Bryan had trusted the person he let walk up close to him.
Edrick Pata: "I do believe that Bryan knew the individual very well. It could be anybody within that circle of trust, and they betrayed him."
Patrick Fraser: "There were no witnesses to the shooting, no motive. Bryan wasn't robbed, leaving Miami-Dade Police with very little to go on. If the killer wasn't a robber, maybe it was something else: a person who knew Bryan, who saw a person admired by the fans, about to strike it rich in pro football, and the killer couldn't stand it."
Edrick Pata: "Envy, jealous. 'I'm going to take your life.'"
To figure out the motive, police need some information.
Detective Michael Dominguez: "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about this case."
Each day, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to identify a murderer.
Detective Michael Dominguez: "We're interested in speaking to anybody that could provide information, no matter how minor the information is. Even if that person thinks it's not important. It might be important to us."
It's important to a detective. Now, imagine how important it is to Bryan Pata's family.
Edrick Pata: "We can't really move forward, because what about our baby brother?"
They buried Bryan four years ago, but a part of all of them was laid to rest that day as well.
Nellie Pierre: "They not only took my brother's life away. They took my mom's life away. It changed us completely, how we look at people."
Now, the family needs you to tell them something. Anything.
Nellie Pierre: "Anybody who knows anything come forward. I wouldn't wish this on nobody."
Patrick Fraser: "Bryan Pata is dead. For four years, his killer has enjoyed living. Now, maybe you can help. Take that person off the streets. Help police close a case. If you know anything about a person who may have wanted to get rid of Bryan Pata, give Miami-Dade Police a call. And if you feel your loved one has been forgotten, give us a call. Remember, many people are still out for justice."
Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers: 305-471-TIPS (8477)
Out For Justice: 305-598-HELP (4357) in Miami-Dade or 954-796-HELP (4357) in Broward