Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is under arrest and out of a job. Police took Hernandez into custody on Wednesday morning. Charges will be announced in a press conference after an arraignment at the Attleboro District Court later in the day.
Within minutes of the arrest, Hernandez was released from the roster of the Patriots, who issued a statement on the situation.
Hernandez has been a focal point of an investigation into the shooting death of 27-year old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, whose body was found June 17 about a quarter-mile from Hernandez's home. Lloyd's family said he was a friend of Hernandez.
Wearing a white V-neck T-shirt, red workout shorts and sneakers, Hernandez was taken from his North Attleborough, Mass., home in handcuffs and placed in the rear seat of a police cruiser.
Seven officers from Massachusetts State Police and North Attleborough police were present when Hernandez was taken into custody. The arrest was apparently not expected by Hernandez, who originally appeared at his front door without a shirt. Officers helped him into the T-shirt after he was cuffed.
Soon after the arrest, the Patriots, who drafted Hernandez out of University of Florida in 2010 and gave him a five-year, $40 million extension last year, announced they released him from the team and issued the following statement:
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."
The NFL also issued a statement that read: "The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling. The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."
Investigators have been at the Hernandez home and surrounding neighborhood since the day after the body was found.
It was reported that Hernandez and three others, including Lloyd, were together Sunday, June 16. Neighbors reported they heard shots after midnight. Lloyd's body was found Monday afternoon.
The day after the body was found, two men were detained by police when they left Hernandez's house. The names of those two men have never been released nor is it known if they are cooperating with the investigation.
Multiple reports indicate that when investigators retrieved a surveillance video and cellular phone from Hernandez that they were physically damaged. Also, Hernandez reportedly hired a cleaning crew to scrub his home last Monday.
Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend, Shayana Jenkins, who is the mother of his child.
Lloyd's family says Hernandez was his friend, but although they have heard from his girlfriend since the death, Hernandez has not talked to them.
Hernandez apparently hired the Boston law firm of Ropes and Gray last Thursday and Michael K. Fee has made a couple of brief statements since then. On Tuesday a spokesman for Ropes and Gray confirmed that well-known criminal attorney Jamie Sultan, of Rankin and Sultan, is acting as co-counsel for Hernandez.
Sultan was at Hernandez's home on Tuesday. Sultan's biography indicates he has "more than 30 years of experience fighting for clients facing serious criminal charges in both state and federal courts."
On Monday, Fee issued a statement and there was a polite response by District Attorney Sam Sutter.
In his statement, Fee said:
"Over the past week, our client, Aaron Hernandez, has been the subject of a relentless flood of rumors, misinformation, and false reports in the media. These include the repeated publication of a supposedly confirmed report that an arrest warrant had been issued for Aaron, a report that was exposed as untrue. None of these false reports come from official sources and we appreciate the professionalism and restraint shown by the Bristol County District Attorney's Office to date with regard to its public statements while its investigation is underway. Out of respect for that ongoing investigation, we will continue to refrain from commenting on its substance."
In return, Sutter released a short statement that said: "Those of us who are involved in this ongoing investigation appreciate the positive remarks about our professionalism."
Monday morning, six officers, including three in rubber wet suits, reported they found no evidence after searching the water in a wooded area near the Hernandez property.
State and local investigators were at the Hernandez home every day last week from Tuesday through Saturday, when more than a dozen officials and two K-9 units were present for almost four hours and left with boxes and bags full of what is presumed to be evidence.
Hernandez grew up in nearby Bristol, Conn.