By Grayson Kamm
First Coast News
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Family members and fraternity brothers are devastated after a University of Florida student is beaten to death, just hours after the Florida-Georgia game.
Friends say Tom Brown was known as the kind of guy everyone wanted to be around -- a big personality who always brought smiles.
He was working to put himself through college.
But that dream ended this past weekend when he came to Jacksonville for football and fun.
Police found Brown barely alive in front of C.S.X. headquarters downtown late Saturday night. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
Five men are in the Duval County Jail, charged with his murder.
On the U.F. campus in Gainesville, just a few lights show from the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house.
Inside, friends -- brothers, they'd say -- remember Tom Brown.
The man who police say was cornered, then beaten to death, just hours after the Florida-Georgia game -- and not long after his last conversation with friends.
"He just seemed so happy. I was asking him about school, and he says school's going good. His car was good, because he loves cars, and he always worked on his car. It's just this weekend -- yesterday -- we just had so much fun," Brown's fraternity brother, Thomas Kastanek, said.
The U.F. junior had hoped to follow his dad, majoring in building construction management.
"He's working to put himself through college -- has a degree -- is working toward a degree now that he really loves. And was just excited about life," remembered fraternity brother Jarod Rouch.
Saturday night, the chaos and violence wasn't confined to Alltel Stadium.
Police say a mile away, five men ganged up to beat Brown unconscious, then tried to get away in a taxi van.
Investigators say as officers rolled up to the scene, witnesses described the taxi and where it was headed.
A patrol car caught up with them on Beach Boulevard, just west of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Meanwhile, rescuers tried to treat Brown's injuries, but he died at Shands Jacksonville.
Police say a CSX security camera filmed the beating.
According to officers, two of the men punched Brown, while another three kept him cornered.
All five were in jail Sunday night on murder charges.
But police say they're still not certain of the motive behind it all.
Investigators say they don't know why it happened -- and they're not sure whether it's tied to the big game.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Ken Jefferson said, "All we know is that we've got a victim who was beaten to death by five individuals, and those five individuals have been arrested."
And for the second straight year, the fun of Florida-Georgia weekend has ended in tragedy.
Last year, a 19-year-old U.F. student was found dead downtown days after the game.
Investigators found David Ferguson's body at a parking garage on Forsyth and Julia Streets.
He had fallen down several stories into a gap near where he'd parked.
First Coast News