Family of Eric Patterson gathers to ask for strength, answers

Family and friends of a former Plant High School football player are pleading for his killer to come forward. Eric Patterson was a star player and went on to play in college and the NFL before he was shot and killed in his home last weekend.

The Tampa Police Department doesn’t have any new information to release, but officers believe the shooting was not random. His family gathered Friday to remember him and call for justice.

The letters E-P line the ground for Eric Patterson, Jr. The 26-year-old father, son, and brother is being remembered for chasing his dreams.

“I’m just so upset man, just choked up. I can’t really say too much. It really hurts me man because that was my son and I love him,” Eric Patterson, Sr. told FOX 13 News.

Tampa police say Patterson was shot in his own home last Saturday. His roommate found him and a stranger, the suspected shooter, in the living room. The guy took off.

Patterson later died.

Nearly a week later, dozens of his family and friends bowed their heads in prayer.

 “He killed my brother,” Patterson’s sister, Javonica said. “You took him away from my dad, his mom, his sisters and brothers, his children. Just come forward, like, that’s just not right… How would you feel if somebody did this to your family? It’s just not right.”

The sudden loss is taking a toll his family needs answers.

“I just want the killer to come forward for me and my dad. Just come forward, just come forward,” Javonica said.

Patterson was a standout football player at plant high school before he graduated and went on to play at ball state university. He even played short stints on several NFL teams.

Patterson leaves behind two little girls. His funeral services are next week. CrimeStoppers is offering a $3,000 reward for information.