New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder and five gun-related offenses Wednesday in connection with the death of an acquaintance, ESPN reports. Hernandez has also been released by his team.
On Wednesday morning, the Bristol County District Attorney's office arrived at Hernandez's residence, arrested him, and booked him at North Attleborough police station. During his arraignment, he was charged with murder, possessing a firearm without a license and possessing a large capacity firearm and a firearm without an ID card. Hernandez pleaded not guilty.
The 23-year-old NFL player became the focus of an investigation surrounding the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd after police searched Hernandez's home and also found that his security system and cell phone were destroyed. Surveillance footage shows Hernandez was with Lloyd just two hours before his death.
According to EPSN, police say Lloyd was shot multiple times in the back and chest. Hernandez was reportedly upset with Lloyd after dispute between the two men at a nightclub a few days before.
Following the arrest, the Patriots released a statement explaining the decision to release Hernandez, who they signed to a five-year, $40 million contract last summer. "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."