Prosecutors are still deciding whether to pursue charges against 20-year-old Dwight Bruce Jr. aka Bobby Bruce, as he was known on the Emmy-nominated docuseries.
“Last Chance U” follows college football players trying to overcome troubled pasts. Netflix released season three on July 20.
Police say the three suspects in the May incident used the smartphone app Snapchat to lure the victim from his home in Palm Bay before holding him at gunpoint and making off with his cash and smartphone.
Bruce was arrested June 7 after a witness identified him to investigators as one of the assailants, according to police reports. He was released on his own recognizance from the Brevard County Jail last month.
A summertime staple on Netflix — the seasons are released in July — “Last Chance U” spotlights relatively unknown junior college football programs where elite players with academic or disciplinary problems often go to salvage their college football careers.
Bruce was no exception.
A former star linebacker for Titusville High School, Bruce was featured in the show’s third season, which followed the Independence Community College Pirates, out of Independence, Kansas.
His attorney, Kory Pyles, said Bruce was back in Kansas and hopes to continue his education and role on the team, but school officials would not confirm his enrollment status for the upcoming school year.
It is unknown whether Bruce will return in future episodes of the show. A request for comment from the show’s producers was not immediately returned.
Bruce’s case before the court for the Snapchat robbery is in flux as prosecutors seek to determine whether the evidence is sufficient to warrant formal charges, according to Todd Brown, a spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office.
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“We are continuing to work diligently in partnership with the Palm Bay Police Department to complete the investigation and obtain the evidence needed to proceed with the prosecution of Dwight Bruce Jr.,” Brown said in an email to FLORIDA TODAY.
Bruce’s arraignment was canceled Aug. 2 after prosecutors failed to file charges by the 33-day time limit following his arrest. They have until the end of November to issue charges before Bruce can no longer be prosecuted for the offense.
Pyles was hopeful for a positive resolution in the case, but admitted Bruce’s outcome at this early stage was uncertain.
“I always try to be optimistic,” he said. “I am very confident the State Attorney’s Office will do their due diligence.”
Archive videos of Bruce have surfaced on YouTube, with some ranging from 2,000 views to one posted by YouTube video blogger FlemLoRaps, whose video has gotten 142,000 views since it was posted July 25.
FlemLoRaps has followed Bruce’s case — and “Last Chance U” — and in his video blog he praises Bruce, saying, “It felt like he was really developing as a person and as a player.”
Bruce played for Titusville between 2012 and 2016 under defensive coordinator Matt Diesel, now head coach of the Space Coast Vipers.
Diesel described Bruce as a good, if impressionable, kid and a hard worker with a troubled background who was trying to escape a bad situation.
“Bobby is a special kid. He definitely comes from excruciating circumstances. His situation was simply tough,” Diesel said. “While he was with us, to my knowledge I did not have one report of him having a run-in with the law. He really was a model player.”
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Diesel tweeted a photo of Bruce on July 23, thanking him for being a special guest during a Viper workout here: “I want to thank my former player @bobbybruce20 for coming to workouts today! It is great to see him the day before he goes back to Independence CC to finish up #BALLER #LastChanceU #BDC”
Bruce retweeted it as well as this tweet by another former coach, Cameron Harris: “Bobby doing what hr does Check out Bobby Bruce’s #4 SENIOR 2016 HIGHLIGHTS #RipJG on @Hudl hudl.com/v/2A7QXn #hudl”
“Something happened to him mentally where he had to get out of Titusville through means of football,” Diesel said of the young football player. “(Getting into Independence) was the best thing that ever happened to him, to get out, away from the distractions.”
FLORIDA TODAY’s Jennifer Sangalang contributed to this report.
Contact Rogers at 321-242-3717
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