The New England Patriots have released their celebrated tight end Aaron Hernandez just hours after he was taken into police custody this morning.
Hernandez, 23, is a suspect in the shooting death of a friend, Odin Lloyd, 27, who was found shot to death in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home. A rental car connected to Hernandez was located near the body. Hernandez will be charged with, at the least, obstruction of justice for destroying evidence in the ongoing homicide investigation.
The Boston Globe reports video images, taken early Monday, show Hernandez and Lloyd together near Lloyd's home. About an hour later, between 3:00 and 3:30, neighbors of Hernandez reported hearing gunshots. Minutes later, video shows Hernandez and two other men entering Hernandez's house.
ABC News previously reported that Hernandez hired a professional cleaning service to scrub his house later that day. And a law enforcement source told ABC that surveillance video from Hernandez's home security system went missing. Additionally, Hernandez's cell phone was smashed in little pieces when he handed it over to detectives.
Alexander Bradley, 30, of East Hartford, is suing Hernandez in Florida, accusing the former Univ. of Florida star of shooting him in the face in February after they partied at a Miami strip club.
Bradley, who is nearly blind and disfigured from his injuries, refused to cooperate with police in that investigation and the case was closed. He is seeking $100,000 in damages and attorney's fees.
The New England Patriots were warned about Hernandez's troubled character before they made him their 4th round pick in the NFL draft in 2010. The pro-bowler was named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week in 2010.
On Thursday, staff at the Patriots training facility in Foxborough, near Boston, ordered Hernandez to leave when he showed up there to work out.
The New England Patriots 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.”
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