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Iowa assistant present at fight in Connecticut

[ 0 ] July 1, 2013 |

Iowa football tight ends coach D.J. Hernandez was present during an incident early Saturday morning at a West Hartford, Conn., restaurant where a fight broke out after Hernandez was mistaken for his brother, a former NFL star facing a murder charge.

University of Iowa Sports Information Director Steve Roe said Monday that D.J. Hernandez was present during the skirmish, after which three others were arrested.

D.J. Hernandez is the older brother of Aaron Hernandez, 23, a former New England Patriots tight end, who has been charged with murder in relation to the June 17 death of Odin Lloyd.

A fight broke out about 4 a.m. Saturday the Gold Roc Diner, 61 Kane St. in West Hartford, after a customer shouted Aaron Hernandez’s name at another customer who looked like him, Norine Derocco, a manager at the diner, told the Press-Citizen on Monday.

“It was just customers who thought it was Aaron Hernandez. That’s how the fight actually started,” Derocco said. “They thought it was Aaron Hernandez himself.

“And then someone said, ‘No it’s his brother,’ and then a fight broke out. But whoever the person was, if it was D.J. Hernandez … (he was) not involved in the actual fight.”

Alberto Lopez, 30, of Bristol, Conn.; Jesus Agosto, 36 of New Britain, Conn.; and Thomas Miller, 30 of Torrington, Conn.; were arrested. It is unclear whom D.J. Hernandez had accompanied to the restaurant and who is accused of instigating the fight.

Lopez, Agosto and Miller each were charged with third-degree assault, breach of peace and third-degree criminal mischief, according to a West Hartford Police Department report.

The West Hartford Police had no comment about the incident when contacted Monday by the Press-Citizen.

D.J. Hernandez played football at Connecticut from 2004-08 and was a team captain for two seasons. He started at wide receiver his last two seasons after switching from quarterback. He now coaches the tight ends at Iowa after joining the staff as a graduate assistant in January. D.J. Hernandez served as an offensive graduate assistant at Miami (Fla.) for the 2012 season.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was asked June 25 how D.J. Hernandez was holding up in the wake of his brother’s arrest.

“He’s fine,” Ferentz said last week.

Aaron Hernandez, who has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge and five weapons charges, is being held without bail in the Bristol County (Mass.) Jail. His next court date is tentatively scheduled for July 24.

Prosecutors say Aaron Hernandez, Ernest Wallace, 41, and Carlos Ortiz, 27, were the three men caught on surveillance cameras driving Odin Lloyd into an industrial park, where he was shot five times and killed in the early morning hours of June 17.

Prosecutors say minutes later the three men then were caught on camera leaving the North Attleborough, Mass., murder site — which is less than a mile from Aaron Hernandez’s home — without Lloyd. His body was discovered by a jogger on the night of June 17.

Lloyd was the boyfriend of Aaron Hernandez’s girlfriend’s sister. The Patriots released Aaron Hernandez the same day he was arrested.

USA Today contributed to this report.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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