Aaron Hernandez was taken from his North Attleboro, Mass., home in handcuffs Wednesday morning after being arrested by the Massachusetts State Police and North Attleboro Police.
The increasing attention and speculation surrounding the former New England Patriots tight end took a decisive turn as a throng of policemen arrived at Hernandez's residence at 8:47 a.m ET.
The Massachusetts State Police announced that Hernandez was taken into custody shortly after they obtained a warrant for his arrest. The MSP tweeted that Hernandez is currently being booked at the North Attleboro Police Station and will be brought on Wednesday to Attleboro District Court for arraignment. The charge against Hernandez will not be released until it is presented to the court, the MSP announced.
NFL Network's Rich Hollenberg told "NFL AM" that three police cars, two of them unmarked, arrived at Hernandez's residence early Wednesday. As many as nine plainclothes police officers and two uniformed North Attleboro officers entered Hernandez's home, bringing him out about five minutes later. The tight end answered the door shirtless, but was taken away with a white T-shirt draped over his upper body, with his hands cuffed behind his back.
The team said in a statement: "A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Wednesday that the decision to cut Hernandez came from the top of the Patriots organization. According to Rapoport, the team had decided last week to release Hernandez if the tight end were arrested for being involved at some level in a homicide investigation. The team told Rapoport they do not have any additional knowledge of the case, but given the seriousness of the situation and what the Patriots and brand stand for, they made the decision to release Hernandez.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued the following statement to NFL Network's Steve Wyche:
"The involvement of an NFL player in a case of this nature is deeply troubling. The Patriots have released Aaron Hernandez, who will have his day in court. At the same time, we should not forget the young man who was the victim in this case and take this opportunity to extend our deepest sympathy to Odin Lloyd's family and friends."
Authorities have been conducting a homicide investigation involving the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, whose body was found at about 5:30 p.m. on June 17.
Lloyd's family told The Associated Press that Lloyd, a semi-pro football player in the Boston area, had connections to Hernandez. The family would not elaborate.
State police have searched in and around Hernandez's home multiple times in the last week.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.