FALL RIVER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) – As one of the top tight ends coming out of high school in 2007, Aaron Hernandez from Bristol, Conn. was in demand. He picked the University of Florida in Gainesville, where football is a religion and players are considered gods.
On Saturday, Sept. 29 ?the Gators lost a close one to Auburn at home?. A 51 page police report obtained by FOX 25 news picks up the night from there.
After the game, Hernandez and several teammates partied at a popular University of Florida nightclub called the Venue. There was a disturbance involving the players, and a crew of locals. Club security kicked both groups out.
A short time later three young men in a late model Crown Victoria stopped at a light and all of a sudden a figure appears and fired at least five rounds into the car. The driver was hit in the arm. The front seat passenger was shot in the head, but survived. The back seat passenger, Randall Cason, then 20 years old, was not harmed.
According to the Gainesville police report, a distraught Cason spoke to investigators immediately after the shooting. Cason claims former Florida Gator and then NFL rookie Reggie Nelson walked up with the shooter. Cason described the shooter as a Hawaiian or Hispanic male with a large muscular build and lots of tattoos. Nelson has never been charged or identified by police as a person of interest in the case.
Cason also said the gunman is a University of Florida student and football player, but he did not know his name.
“We don’t even know if they did an investigation of the football team,” Tom Shamshak, private investigator and former police chief said.
FOX 25's Ted Daniel reviewed the lengthy report with Shamshak.
“In light of what we know of Hernandez’s description it's tantalizing to say it's him, it could be him, that's grasping at straws right now,” Shamshak said. “Could he have acted out and done this earlier?”
And there's more. Cason provided a possible motive, he told police about the altercation at the Venue nightclub shortly before the shooting, and claims it was part of ongoing dispute with some University of Florida football players that began the weekend before when a chain was snatched from the neck of one of the Pouncey brothers.
At the time, twins Mike and Maurkice Pouncey were also rising stars at Florida and close friends with Hernandez.
If the unsolved attempted double murder in Gainesville really played out the way Cason first described, it's hard to ignore similarities to a recently solved double murder that occurred in July of 2012 in Boston’s theater district.
Authorities say Hernandez got into it with a group of young men at Cure Lounge over something petty. Multiple sources told FOX 25 that it was a spilled drink.
When the victims left the Boston nightclub in a BMW, Hernandez allegedly followed them about a half mile until a light at the corner of Herald and Shawmut. At the light, an SUV pulled along the side of the BMW and the driver, who police identify as Hernandez, fired a .38 caliber gun into the driver side window of the car striking three, killing two.
According to Cason, the 2007 Gainesville shooting may have also started with a petty night club dispute.
He said the victims were followed from the club about a half mile. At a light, an unknown shooter walked up to the car and also fired roughly five shots.
The weapon was also a .38 caliber gun.
Nine days after the Gainesville shooting detectives attempted to question Hernandez about the shooting, his name was redacted from the report because at the time Hernandez was just 17 years old and considered a juvenile in the state of Florida.
Hernandez refused to speak without a lawyer and there's no documented contact with him again.
Around the same time the only witness to identify him, Cason, retracted his statements to police. Hernandez went on to become one of the best tight ends to ever play at Florida.
In the following statement released to FOX 25, Gainesville police make it crystal clear:
"Hernandez was not suspected of being the shooter in 2007 and is still not today. All but one witness described the alleged shooter as a black male. Any new legal action regarding Hernandez in other jurisdictions does not change any of the facts that were documented in 2007."
Bill Cervone, state attorney for the Gainesville area, is not as definitive.
In an interview he told FOX 25, “The case is an open investigation and I really cannot talk about the details of it, but nothing has changed that would remove his potential involvement in some role as a witness on up to whatever might be there according to the evidence.”