By Mike Clary
MIAMI — On Lucille Patrick's coffee table, surrounded by dozens of framed family photos, sits a bouquet of red paper flowers and a heart-shaped balloon — a Mother's Day gift from her oldest son last year.
"My son is gone," Patrick said Sunday, tears welling in her eyes. "He won't be taking me to church and then out to eat as he always does. Why did this happen to him?"
Carl Patrick, a 25-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, was found dead Friday in his home in the 2100 block of Northwest 93rd Avenue in Pembroke Pines, officials said. He was 52.
"The cause of death has been determined to be homicide, as a result of a gunshot wound," Pembroke Pines Sgt. Carlos Corretjer said.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said police suspect that Patrick was shot by a Miami police public service aide who may have been his girlfriend, according to a report published Sunday in The Miami Herald.
Lucille Patrick, along with her son Michael Patrick, 51, said they had met Carl Patrick's girlfriend several times over the past year at family holiday celebrations. "They were always joking, seemed very happy," said Michael Patrick.
No one has been charged in connection with the slaying.
"At this time the investigation is still on going and we have no new information to provide," Corretjer said Sunday
Police discovered Carl Patrick's body about 2:45 p.m. Friday when they stopped by after he had not been heard from. Assigned to uniform patrol in Miami's northwest district, Patrick did not show up for work on two consecutive days, said Miami Police Maj. Delrish Moss.
When slain, Patrick was "wearing his Miami police uniform," Miami Fraternal Order of Police president Javier Ortiz said in a statement released late Sunday. "His lunch box as well as his city laptop were inside his police car which is consistent with Brother Carl going to work in order to protect the community of the City of Miami," Ortiz said.
He called for fellow officers to cover their badges as a symbol of mourning.
Lucille Patrick, 86, said she last talked to her son Tuesday evening. She said he was planning to come by her home in northwest Miami — the house in which he grew up — to have dinner Wednesday.
"But I never heard from him," said Patrick, a retired hospital worker. "And then I called friends and asked them to pray with me."
At the scene of the slaying Sunday, the Broward Sheriff's Office crime scene truck was gone, as were most investigators. But yellow crime-scene tape remained strung across Northwest 93rd Avenue, high enough to allow cars to pass, and a Pembroke Pines police car was parked near the house.
Patrick's Miami police cruiser still sat in the driveway of the house in the Rainbow Lakes community.
In the family's Miami home, Lucille Patrick and her surviving son looked at dozens of photographs that documented the police and military career of Carl Patrick — or Ronaldo, as they called him.
"We are a working family," said Michael Patrick. He said their late father was a Navy veteran and longtime supervisor at Ryder Truck Rental, and their mother's father a police official in Kingston, Jamaica.
"We knew something was wrong when he didn't show up for work," said Patrick. "That is not like him."
Moss called Patrick "a stellar police officer — a quiet, very nice guy."
Born in Miami, Patrick attended Miami Central High School and enlisted in the Army after graduation, according to his brother. After his active duty service he stayed in the military reserves, eventually shifting from the Army to the Air Force, Michael Patrick said.
Various military assignments took his brother to Germany and Bosnia, he said.
Patrick joined the Miami police force in May 1989.
As a member of the Miami Police Department's honor guard, Patrick was a presence at numerous funerals and official occasions, according to Moss. He was also involved in one close call while on duty when in September 2004 he confronted an armed man suspected of robbing a convenience store.
Patrick fired several shots at the man, who was later shot and killed by two other officers, according to police.
In his spare time, Patrick made ceramic figurines, including a white cross that hangs on his mother's living room wall.
"My son has been taken from me," she said. "I don't understand it. He was a good son."
Funeral services are pending through Gregg L. Mason Funeral Home, Michael Patrick said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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