THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Attorney claims Meriweather ‘did not shoot anyone’

By Shalise Manza Young
Globe Staff / March 22, 2011

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NEW ORLEANS — The attorney for Brandon Meriweather met with Orange County (Fla.) sheriff’s office investigators yesterday and handed over sworn witness statements that he says prove the Patriots safety was not responsible for a shooting last month in his hometown of Apopka, Fla.

Adam Swickle told the Orlando Sentinel, “We have confirmed that Brandon was nothing but a peacekeeper. All of the witnesses confirmed that at no point did Brandon have a gun, or threaten to shoot, and did not shoot anyone.’’

Captain Angelo Nieves of the sheriff’s department confirmed that Swickle met with members of the department.

“He produced multiple statements from several individuals he had a private investigator speak to,’’ Nieves said. “Mr. Meriweather still has not come in to speak to us. We continue to seek the truth.’’

The Sentinel reported that Swickle’s investigator, Robert Crispin, interviewed at least one person who identified another man who had a gun and was threatening people with it immediately before the shooting, which took place outside a home in the early-morning hours of Feb. 28.

The Globe previously reported that Meriweather was trying to break up a fight and was not in possession of a gun when the shooting occurred, hours after he hosted a charity basketball tour nament. A nightclub party was marred by a fight in the parking lot, after which Meriweather and several others went to a private residence to resume the party.

Swickle declined to name the man with the gun but said he has a lengthy criminal record.

A Meriweather relative told the Globe last week that the shooter was Anton Massey. According to Florida public records, Massey has been arrested at least a half-dozen times, most recently Feb. 10, when he was charged with violation of probation.

Meriweather was tied to the shooting by victims Nico Stanley and Quentin Taylor, who is a cousin of the former first-round draft pick. Stanley and Taylor have retained personal injury attorney John Morgan, but in interviews with two Boston radio stations when news broke that Meriweather’s name was being attached to the incident, Morgan said he had doubts that the safety was the gunman.

The Orange County sheriffs office has confirmed that Meriweather was present at the time of the incident. No one has been arrested or charged.

“An investigation is still ongoing. The status of that has not changed,’’ Nieves said.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at syoung@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.

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