The officials said Pata was killed about two hours after leaving practice Tuesday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday. Miami-Dade police found the 22-year-old defensive tackle dead at the scene.
"This is a sensitive, real-time, active investigation," said Miami-Dade police spokesman Roy Rutland.
The said officers investigating the case, which was being treated as a homicide, would be at the scene all night Tuesday and would seek a search warrant for Pata's apartment.
University of Miami officials said no decision had yet been made regarding whether a Wednesday practice and a Saturday game against Maryland would go on as scheduled.
"Right now, we're just gathering ourselves and just trying to pull ourselves together," said Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee.