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Lawyer: Meriweather played 'peacekeeper' in Florida shooting

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The lawyer for New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather says his client should no longer be considered a suspect in the Feb. 28 shooting that injured two men outside a bar in Apopka, Fla.

Attorney Adam Swickle told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that Meriweather's role at the scene was that of "a peacekeeper."

"All of the witnesses confirmed that at no point did Brandon have a gun, or threaten to shoot, and did not shoot anyone," Swickle told the newspaper after delivering witness statements to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office stated last month that Meriweather was present the night of the shooting, but Swickle told the Sentinel that his investigator, Robert Crispin, interviewed at least one witness who cited another man as threatening people with a gun before the time of the shooting.

Quentin Taylor, 24, and Nico Stanley, 23, were both injured in the shooting. Taylor was shot in the face, and Stanley was grazed by a bullet.

Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Cpt. Angelo Nieves said Monday that investigators aren't ready to make an arrest or charge anyone with the shooting.

"We are not ready to characterize (Meriweather) in any other fashion," Nieves said. "The investigation is continuing to move forward."

Meriweather graduated from Apopka High School in 2002, then played at the University of Miami. He was selected in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Patriots and completed his fourth NFL season in 2010.

This isn't the first time that Meriweather's name has been mentioned in regard to a violent incident.

In October 2006, while still at Miami, Meriweather was part of an on-field fight with several Florida International players.

About three months earlier, Meriweather fired at an alleged assailant who had shot Miami backup safety Willie Cooper outside the house the two players shared with another teammate, police said. Meriweather wasn't charged, and police said he legally used the gun, for which he had a permit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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