University Of Miami DE Bryan Pata was killed earlier today, shot dead at his apartment complex in Kendall, FL. From the Miami Herald’s Susan Miller Deegan, Yudy Pinero and David Ovalle.

According to Miami-Dade police spokesman Roy Rutland, police officers were dispatched to the Colony Apartments, 9315 SW 77th Ave., at 7:30 p.m. where they found Pata dead of a gunshot wound near bushes in the parking lot area.

His mother, Ronette Pata, jumped out of a Lexus, where family was gathering outside the police line at about 9:30 p.m., screaming, ”My baby! My baby!” She then began to slip and collapsed into the arms of a Miami-Dade detective in front of media members and onlookers.

Pata, an imposing looking man who was friendly and open with reporters, recently invited a Herald sports writer to his apartment near Dadeland. In a tour of the apartment, he showed a few guns that he kept in his closet and said he used at shooting ranges.

Pata majored in criminology and told The Miami Herald in August that he and fellow UM lineman Kareem Brown might one day join the FBI.

“We could be sharpshooters, undercover guys, Pata said. “A couple years later, after pro ball, you never know.”

Pata was moved from defensive end to defensive tackle before the season to allow UM to insert Calais Campbell into the starting lineup.

”I love it — wish I had done it two years ago,” Pata said last month. “It’s real simple. It’s going against a bigger guy, [which works] to my advantage.”

Pata had responded with his best season: 29 tackles, two sacks, six quarterback pressures, four tackles for losses and one forced fumble.

Last month, NFL draft analyst John Murphy said Pata was UM’s only senior who had improved his draft stock and stood as a potential third-round pick. The UM media guide describes Pata as a “skilled pass rusher who combines size, strength and speed and has tremendous upside.”

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