Former Ball State cornerback Eric Patterson was shot and killed in his Florida home Saturday by an intruder, Tampa Bay police told the Tampa Bay Times.
He was 26 years old.
He also signed with the New England Patriots in 2015 and was cut before joining the Colts.
Attack happened early Saturday
The attack happened around 5 a.m. Saturday and woke Patterson’s roommate, who found an unidentified suspect lying on Patterson’s back after shooting him, police told The Times.
The suspect fled on foot for several blocks and got away in a white SUV. Paramedics transported Patterson to a local hospital where he was announced dead. Police are searching for tips to lead to an arrest.
They said that the attack did not appear to be random.
Patterson starred at his Tampa high school
Patterson was a star player for Plant High School in Tampa Bay before playing three seasons at Ball State in Indiana.
“He had a very gregarious personality,” Plant coach Robert Weiner told The Times. “He was very affable and always smiling, always laughing.”
According to The Times, police did not initially identify Patterson publicly, citing a state amendment called Marsy’s Law that intends to protect the rights of victims. After family members and one of Patterson’s former coaches addressed his death in public, police confirmed he was the victim with permission from the family, according to The Times.
Patterson played with Tony Dungy’s son
Former Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy mentioned Patterson’s death on Sunday before officials had confirmed it. He said that his son Eric played with Patterson at Plant.
Eric Patterson played at Plant HS with our son Eric. We have heard the story that he was killed but there is no official confirmation and nothing being reported on our news here. Our son is distraught but we cannot find any information either. https://t.co/G1LltMP6ke
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) June 9, 2019
Ball State head coach Mike Neu addressed Patterson’s death on Twitter on Monday morning.
“We are mourning the passing of one of our own, Eric Patterson,” Neu wrote. “We are extremely saddened by this, and we ask that you please keep Eric and his family in your prayers.”
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