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Florida lawsuit alleges Patriots' Hernandez shot friend in face

Michael Dwyer / AP file

New England Patriots' Aaron Hernandez kneels on the field during NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., on May 29.

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, whose Massachusetts home has been visited twice by police this week after a man’s body was found in an industrial park about a mile away, allegedly shot a friend in the face in February, according to a new lawsuit.

According to the suit, Hernandez was driving from Tootsie’s strip club in Miami to Palm Beach on Feb. 13 with a group of people when an argument ensued between Alexander Bradley, the suit’s plaintiff, and the football player.

A gun that Hernandez “was not legally licensed to have” discharged, the suit stated. The bullet hit Bradley, 30, causing him to lose his right eye, and resulting in numerous surgeries, difficulty eating and other damages that are “permanent in nature,” according to the suit.

“He’s recuperating. He’s still at home,” said David Jaroslawicz, one of the attorneys representing Bradley, who lives in Connecticut.

The lawsuit was originally filed in a south Florida federal court last week, according to Jaroslawicz, but because of a mistake in the paperwork, it was withdrawn on Monday, and refiled Wednesday.

A Palm Beach County police report obtained by NBC News said that the case became inactive after Bradley refused to cooperate with emergency officials, telling them he didn’t know who shot him.

“En route to the hospital while the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue was treating the victim, I attempted asking him several times if he knew who did this to him and he stated, 'No,'” thereport says. He did, however, deny that the wounds were self-inflicted.

Bradley is seeking at least $75,000 in damages from Hernandez, Jaroslawicz said, and wants to know whether the gun was fired on purpose.

“When we get Mr. Hernandez’s testimony, hopefully he’ll tell us. My guess is he’ll say I didn’t do it deliberately,” he said.

Bradley had been found just before 7 a.m. on Feb. 13 in an alley of a John Deere landscaping business in Riviera Beach, Fla., just miles from Palm Beach, according to the report, after someone called 911 to report a sighting of someone bleeding. He was found bleeding from his head and had also suffered a possible gunshot wound to his hand, according to police.

Witnesses saw a dark SUV leaving the area that morning, but no license-plate number was obtained.

While being treated at nearby St. Mary’s hospital the following day, Bradley was described as “very rude” and "uncooperative,” and “he asked that the investigation not go any further,” according to the report.

News of the February allegations came a day after police’s first visit to Hernandez’s house in the investigation of the body found nearby. The body of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd was found about one mile from the home of the player in an undeveloped area, Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter’s office said.

Lloyd’s death has been ruled a homicide.

Sports Illustrated, citing an unnamed source, reported that Hernandez was not being questioned as a suspect in the death but that an SUV rented in his name was a key piece of evidence in the investigation.

The magazine posted photos of police at the door of Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough, about 15 homes from Foxborough, where the Patriots play home games.

Mark Stockwell / The Sun Chronicle via AP

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez drives from his home late Thursday morning, in North Attleborough, Mass.

The Boston Globe reported that state police could be seen taking pictures inside the house. Two men left the house, got into a car and tried to drive away, were stopped by state troopers and later were driven off in police cruisers, the newspaper reported.

 A lawyer for the tight end declined comment on the criminal investigation.

"It has been widely reported in the media that the state police have searched the home of our client, Aaron Hernandez, as part of an ongoing investigation," Hernandez attorney Michael Fee said in a statement made before the civil suit was revealed. "Out of respect for that process, neither we nor Aaron will have any comment about the substance of that investigation until it has come to a conclusion."

Fee did not respond to requests for comment on the civil lawsuit.

Hernandez, 23, was drafted by the Patriots out of the University of Florida in 2010. He caught 51 passes last season for 483 yards and scored five touchdowns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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