GPD releases incident report on 2007 double shooting
Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 11:19 a.m.
The Gainesville Police Department on Wednesday released a previously unpublished police report pertaining to two 2007 shootings possibly involving former University of Florida football star Aaron Hernandez.
In an updated statement, GPD acknowledged that a clerk had inadvertently released the material to ESPN, which was among the media outlets looking into Hernandez's possible involvement in the pair of shootings. The agency then formally released the report, with the caveat that it is incomplete and the investigation is ongoing.
Hernandez, a former tight end with the New England Patriots, has been charged with murder in connection with a Massachusetts shooting death. He also is being investigated in another double murder there and is being sued over another shooting in South Florida.
There are two criminal incidents in Gainesville from 2007 in which Hernandez's name has surfaced in recent days. Wednesday's GPD statement refers to an investigation into an incident on Sept. 30 in the 1200 block of West University Avenue in which Corey T. Smith, now 33, and Justin E. Glass, now 24, were shot.
Both were in a car when someone walked up and shot Smith in the head and Glass in the arm, according to GPD. No one has been arrested or charged in the shooting.
Police at the time questioned former UF player Reggie Nelson and several Gators, whom police did not identify.
GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias told The Sun last week that, "Hernandez's name came up once in the report, and he was questioned very briefly. … We got his name as being in the area (of the shooting), so we questioned him."
Hernandez's name does not appear in the newly released material; however, a name is redacted in the narrative, and Tobias said that person is Hernandez, who was 17 at the time and a minor.
The report provides more details of the incident, including that passenger Randall Cason identified one of the two assailants as Reggie Nelson, a former UF player then a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Cason, who was not injured, said the shooting was related to an earlier altercation between himself and Nelson. He said Nelson was with an unidentified "Hawaiian" or Hispanic male, who fired four to five shots into the car.
Nelson told police he arrived at the Venue club about midnight with Demetrious Webb and Richard Lakes, Nelson's cousin. Once there, they met up with another man and Mike and Maurkice Pouncey and Hernandez.
Hernandez told Nelson that one of the Pouncey twins had his gold necklace snatched by Cason.
The shootings took place a short time later, and Nelson told police he was not involved.
The report notes that when detectives tried to interview Hernandez, he invoked his right to counsel. Cason later rescinded his identification of Hernandez and Nelson, the report notes. An additional report that details that interview was not included in the documents released on Wednesday.
Hernandez, who played for UF from 2007 to 2009, was also involved in an altercation at The Swamp restaurant on April 29, 2007, according to a GPD report on that incident.
The fight started after Hernandez, who was 17 at the time, refused to pay for drinks and argued with manager Michael Taphorn about the bar bill, the report said.
After being escorted out of the bar, Hernandez punched Taphorn on the left side of his head before running away. Taphorn later said the blow burst his eardrum.
Former Gator star Tim Tebow, now with the Patriots, was with Hernandez at the time and tried to be a peacemaker, the report said.
Hernandez and Tebow later told police they had contacted then-head coach Urban Meyer about the incident, and the officer said GPD would not pursue charges against Hernandez for underage drinking and that coaches would handle the incident internally.
Taphorn later told police he might consider dropping the battery charge and that he had been contacted by legal staff and coaches at UF to work on an agreement but that nothing had been finalized.
On Wednesday, Taphorn declined to comment about the incident.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.