Aaron Hernandez during his years as a Gator. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
As Aaron Hernandez finds himself a suspect in the homicide of a Boston man and the subject of ridiculous media coverage, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel has released details of another shooting investigation that occurred while the tight end attended the University of Florida in 2007.
When Hernandez was at UF, he was once questioned, along with three other Gator football players, about a shooting in Gainesvile. None of the players were arrested, but detectives questioned Hernandez in the shootings of Corey Smith and Justin Glass about 2:30 a.m. after Florida lost to Auburn in 2007. According to a Sentinel report at the time, police said Smith, 28, and Glass, 19, were driving around in traffic about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when a man began shooting into their car. Smith was critically wounded in the head while Glass was shot in the arm.
Hernandez declined to discuss the case with reporters back then and was never charged with any crime.
The Urban Meyer era in Gainesville was marred by a long list of varying criminal charges and investigations, as at least 25 of his players were arrested between 2005 and 2010. In 2009, the Sentinel called local defense attorney Huntley Johnson the team's "defensive MVP" for his work in handling a majority of the student-athletes' cases. After taking the Ohio State job in November 2011, Meyer said that the arrests during his time at Florida were “exaggerated."
Bianchi also relayed details of an incident from very early in Hernadez’s Gators career:
However, when Hernandez first enrolled at UF, he was arrested as a 17-year-old juvenile after an altercation at local campus hangout known as The Swamp. Hernandez received deferred prosecution.
Hernandez is also facing a civil suit in Florida for allegedly shooting a man in the face. One of the tight end's former coaches told Sports Illustrated that Hernandez's friends from home were always seen as a problem:
"There were always people that were trying to surround themselves with him that weren't in his best interest and they were around him," said the former coach. "For him, it's like anything else. He's a good-hearted kid who had a hard time saying no."
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