MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After 15 long years, an arrest has been made in the murder of former Miami Hurricanes defensive back Bryan Pata who was shot and killed outside of his Kendall apartment in 2006.

According to Miami-Dade police homicide detective Juan Segovia, Pata’s former teammate Rashuan Jones, a former UM defensive back, is now under arrest and charged with his murder.

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“As a result of 15 years of investigation, countless hours, numerous interviews, and credible work done by countless detectives with the assistance and collaboration of the State Attorney’s office who were able to obtain an arrest warrant charging Rashaun Jones with first degree murder,” said Segovia in a social media post announcing the arrest. “As a result of that warrant being signed, the US Marshal service was able to locate Rashaun Jones and take him into custody and he was subsequently arrested for a first-degree murder, and he is now awaiting extradition back to Miami Dade County for prosecution.”

Miami-Dade police arrested Jones, 35, on Thursday in Marion County.

Rashaun Jones being arrested on Thursday, Aug. 19. (Source: @SheriffCitrus)

“I want to thank the media, the family, the police and our own prosecutors for never giving up,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle.

Pata was shot and killed in the parking lot of his apartment complex on November 7, 2006, following a Hurricanes football practice. He was 22 years old.

In a release announcing the arrest, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office explained police learned through numerous interviews that Pata allegedly had previous on-going issues with Jones including a physical altercation where Pata beat Jones.

Two months before Pata’s death, he told family that Jones had allegedly threatened to shoot him in the head, however he did not report it.

The State Attorney’s Office also said that after Pata’s death, police interviewed Jones and found inconsistencies in his story.

He told investigators he was home the night of Pata’s death, however phone records showed otherwise.

Jones allegedly used a cell phone two just over two miles away from the crime scene.

About two weeks after the murder, Pata’s teammates said a prayer over a mural that was placed at mid-field after defeating the Boston College Golden Eagles at the Orange Bowl Stadium on November 23, 2006.   Rashuan Jones #38 was there, as seen in this highlighted photo.

File picture of Bryan Pata’s teammates saying a prayer over a mural that was placed at mid-field at the Orange Bowl Stadium on November 23, 2006. Teammate Rashuan Jones #38 and highlighted in the photo, was charged with his murder on August 19, 2021, 15 years after the crime.
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

“Bryan Pata was a young man who was not only a local high school football hero, but he was also a very good player, and a very well-known player at the University of Miami,” said Segovia. “One of the challenges of investigating a case like this, with a victim like Bryan Pata, is that Bryan Pata’s whole world revolved around football and his family. So, it’s not like he had a lot of enemies. He wasn’t involved in any criminal elements. He was a young man who was looking forward to a future in the NFL. That’s all he wanted to do, play football in the National Football League. He wanted to take care of his family one day, he wanted to take care of his mom, sisters, and his brothers and that’s all he ever talked about. And that’s all he ever aspired to do in his life.”

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Segovia said lengthy investigations like this are unique because there is no statute of limitation for homicide, and nobody ever gave up.

“The community never stopped contacting us and even if we get 1,000 tips, but only one of them was the one that actually put the pieces together. That’s what it took. And that’s exactly what happened in this case,” he explained.

“I can only hope that this brings the Pata family a little bit of closure, a little bit of satisfaction, knowing that at least the person who took Bryan’s life is now in custody and will be facing charges.”

Over the years, police and devastated family members, including Pata’s mother, pleaded for answers.

“This is not easy for me, because ten years and a half we never hear nothing, no phone call,” said Jeanette Pata.

A decade and a half later, finally some closure – and not just for the family.

Canes head football coach MANNY Diaz said he spoke to Pata’s brother, Edwin.

Edwin is the assistant director for UM football recruiting.

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“Our thoughts are with the Pata family because we know how great Edwin is. We have gotten to know his family and we have a lot of love for them,” Diaz said.

CBSMiami.com Team