As police study the grainy video recorded by security cameras during the North Miami Beach shooting of former University of Miami basketball player Bradley Timpf, one has to marvel at the black cloud that has descended over the University of Miami sports community this year.
First, in July, junior safety Willie Cooper was shot in the buttocks outside of his off-campus apartment. Teammate Brandon Meriweather returned fire with his semi-automatic pistol at the assailant, who wore a bandana and drove a blue Audi.
On November 8, defensive lineman Bryan Pata was fatally shot in the head outside of his Kendall apartment, a mystery still unsolved.
On November 29, tragedy struck UM men's basketball coach Frank Haith when Sean Bell, his 23-year-old nephew, died after being shot by New York City policemen the day before Bell was to be married.
Last Sunday an unknown assailant gunned down Bradley Timpf in the parking lot of a North Miami Beach Houston's — a UM alum who to all appearances was simply an amicable chiropractor.
And then, of course, there was this:
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While the killings of Sean Bell and Bradley Timpf are only tangentially related to UM, the football team's issues directly involved UM student athletes. Guns are not allowed on campus, but UM officials have said there is little they can do about students owning guns off campus — indeed, Brandon Meriweather's armed retaliation last summer was fully within the limits of Florida law. -Emily Witt
Update: The Universityof Miami sent the following statement via email Monday in response to this post:
Bryan Pata and Willie Cooper were victims of off-campus violence, not the instigators. As to the FIU incident, the actions of those involved were inexcusable and they have been appropriately disciplined and are also doing community service. We do have and are intensifying our programs with respect to appropriate behavioral actions.
The University has a uniform policy with respect to not allowing guns on campus. That policy is also in place for members of the football team living off-campus and we are currently discussing the possibility of extending that policy to all student-athletes.