The Murder of Bryan Pata

I still remember where I was the moment I heard the news. Walking from the Richter Library on Memorial Drive down the paved walkway towards the Student Union. I was a 4th year Hurricane who was always buried in my books up in the stacks. I was going to meet up with a couple of friends there and then head over to the Rathskeller aka the Rat. If you went to the U, then you know about the Rat. I used to sit down on the couches and watch a little Sportscenter to unwind from my heavy science and math subject courseload. The news started spreading around the campus first as little smoldering embers in a few small groups that eventually became a raging wildfire that consumed the whole campus and the entire student body. “Did you guys hear? Bryan just got shot. Bryan Pata.”

Not everyone knew who he was, but everyone who did know who he was became absolutely stunned. But no one wanted to assume the worst since we didn’t have any other details. Later we got the confirmation of the worst news possible. He died on the scene near his apartment that was only miles away from campus. A young life gone too soon. A skilled man with so much potential, months away from achieving his childhood dreams and elevating his entire family. Bryan was beloved on campus. I used to see him around campus all of the time. Especially when I would go over to Hecht dorms or work out in the Wellness Center. You wouldn’t have known that he was a projected early round NFL draft talent. The way he carried himself, he was just one of the fellas.

Pata was a class ahead of me but he played football with my cousin in high school and they were very tight. We never really spoke, but we did do the obligatory head knod of acknowledgement whenever we walked passed each other on the Coral Gables campus. My cousin Mike ran heavy with the Zoes from his days at North Miami and Miami Central, he still does to this day. I could tell when I spoke to my cousin the next day after the tragedy that this one cut deep. It really didn’t have to be this way. Bryan’s life didn’t have to end this way.

What hurts the most is when we started hearing rumors around campus that some people thought it was a teammate who did it a lot of us who weren’t in the know of all the details dismissed it. No way. The Canes football team? That’s a brotherhood, one of the brothers would never! A few years ago those rumors got turned up to sounding like it was an absolute fact that Rashaun did it. The heat got turned up on the cold case. All the while, Rashaun carried on with his life like nothing happened- when he knew how he had just devastated a family, the Haitian community, and the larger Miami football community as a whole. He took pictures in the OB holding hands in a prayer circle with his teammates looking down on the giant he had cowardly slain. That’s some ruthless savagery that only exists in the souls of the truly evil. I was waiting for him to finally get charged to pass full judgment, but I guess a part of me always knew that it was him. Who else could it be? He had the motive, no alibi, and the investigators finally got the evidence.

Apparently Bryan and Rashaun didn’t get along and fought a few times. One altercation ending with Rashaun issuing what seemed to be an idle threat at the time that no one took seriously except for the future transgressor. It’s sad that it always seems like the good have to die young, and Bryan Pata was truly a good dude. Thankfully the streets never gave up on the case, thankfully Bryan’s family finally gets some closure, and hopefully the community can finally get some justice. Rest up big fella.


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