Published July 03, 2013
Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow tried to prevent former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez from getting into a fight at a Florida bar in 2007, according to police reports.
A sworn court complaint from Florida's Eighth Judicial Circuit details Hernandez's apparent involvement in the fight at a restaurant called The Swamp in Gainesville, Fla., that left a restaurant worker with a burst ear drum.
The partially redacted document says the restaurant worker told police that Hernandez, who was then 17, punched him in the head while he was escorting the subject out of the business after a dispute about an alleged non-payment of a bill.
Tebow, at the time University of Florida's star quarterback, is listed as a witness. The report said Hernandez asked him to intervene in the verbal dispute before the assault.
According to police records obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, Tebow told an officer he attempted to resolve the dispute and urged Hernandez to leave peacefully.
The complaint classifies the offense as "felony battery." It wasn't clear Tuesday how the case was resolved.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, whose body was found June 17 not far from Hernandez's North Attleborough, Mass. mansion. His defense team has called the case circumstantial and has said Hernandez looks forward to clearing his name.
But even before the 23-year-old's recent arrest, public records and interviews show he had been involved in police inquires in the past, first in Florida and then in the Boston area.
Also in 2007, Hernandez was among three Florida football players and another who had gone on to the NFL questioned by Gainesville police after a double shooting that happened after a Florida loss. Police said the players provided the information investigators wanted. No charges were ever filed.
A request for comment left with a spokesman for Hernandez's legal team Tuesday evening was not immediately returned.
Although Hernandez is facing a murder charge, his current legal troubles may not end there.
Police in Hernandez's hometown of Bristol, Conn., said Tuesday that Boston police asked for their help with a double homicide investigation linked to the former NFL star.
Bristol Police Lt. Kevin Morrell said the request was based on evidence developed through the investigation of Lloyd's slaying. He said police were asked to search the same home in Bristol for both investigations, and they seized a vehicle at the address Friday.
Two men died in the shooting in Boston's South End on July 15, 2012 and another was wounded. Witnesses reported seeing gunfire coming from a gray SUV with Rhode Island plates. Authorities said 29-year-old Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and 28-year-old Safiro Teixeira Furtado were killed, the third man was not identified.
Boston police have declined to comment on whether Hernandez is being looked as a possible suspect in that case from last summer.
The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday that a Connecticut man killed in a car crash early Sunday was possibly set to be interviewed by investigators in connection with Lloyd's death.
Sources told the newspaper that Thaddeus Singleton III, who was killed when the car he was driving slammed into the Farmington Country Club, was of interest to investigators.
The newspaper reported that the car Singleton was driving during the crash was registered to Hernandez's uncle, who is Singleton's father-in-law.
Hernandez has been connected to still more incidents involving guns, although none have resulted in criminal charges against him.
A man who claims Hernandez shot him in the face in February after an argument at a Florida strip club filed a civil lawsuit days before police arrested Hernandez.
Plaintiff Alexander Bradley claims in the civil action that Hernandez shot him with a handgun, causing him to lose his right eye. But after someone found the Connecticut man bleeding in an alley behind a Palm Beach County store after hearing a gunshot, he told police he didn't know who shot him and gave only a vague description of possible assailants.
Bradley's lawyer David Jaroslawicz wouldn't comment on Tuesday about the nature of the alleged dispute between his client and Hernandez. He said the two flew to South Florida together before getting into a dispute at a Miami club.
The attorney said Bradley, who worked for Stanley Steamer before the shooting, had done some work for Hernandez and that the two also hung out socially a few times and had known each other for several years.
"The last thing we expected was a few days after we filed the lawsuit police would find a dead body a few miles from his house," the attorney said in a phone interview.
Authorities have also linked Hernandez to a May 18 fight outside a bar in Providence, R.I., that involved a gun.
A prosecutor with the Bristol County district attorney's office has said that a man who matched the description of a man seen on video with Hernandez on the night of Lloyd's slaying was seen putting a gun under a car during the Rhode Island incident.
Authorities traced that gun to a Florida gun shop.
Then following Lloyd's death, police said they recovered a .22 caliber gun about a quarter-mile from the defendant's home -- a weapon authorities said was traced to the same store.