1 of 2 Utah players shot on Saturday released from hospital
Sep. 14, 2015
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham was grateful that two players shot over the weekend are expected to fully recover, but he doesn't feel the need to change team rules.
Freshman Marcel Brooks-Brown and sophomore Lo Falemaka were both shot at a party late Friday night. Brooks-Brown was released from the hospital Monday while Falemaka is expected out in a week or so.
"We have certain guidelines that we follow and certain things that are expected," Whittingham said. "Just use your common sense and don't put yourself in bad situations.
"It's just a matter of making good decisions. Not to say these guys made bad decisions. Circumstances are what they are. Sometimes it's just wrong place at the wrong time. That happens on occasion, too."
The coach updated their statuses Monday afternoon.
The two players were both shot in the torso, according to police. Whittingham declined to detail their medical conditions due to privacy laws and requests from the families.
Police spokeswoman Robin Heiden said Sunday the two victims got into an altercation late Saturday night with three men who refused to leave a private party. Heiden said one of the suspects allegedly pulled out a gun and shot them both. The three suspects then fled the scene.
No arrests have been made in the shootings, said Salt Lake City Police detective Greg Wilking on Monday. Early indications are that the shooters didn't have any connection to the people at the house party, which is making it difficult to identify them, he said. Police are looking for three people.
The feeling around the program is that it was a fluke incident involving some troublemakers. Quarterback Kendal Thompson said sometimes there's nothing you can do in those situations and no one can be expected to sit home all day for fear of encountering a random incident.
"It's definitely scary, whether it's your teammates or loved ones or anything like that," Thompson said. "There's also some things that are outside of your control that go on in this world. The main thing is that they're OK and they'll be returning to us.
"Nothing really (to be learned). Try to stay away from knuckleheads. There's nothing really you can do about it. There's going to be guys out there like that and it's outside of your control."
Team captain Gionni Paul said, "I just thought I lost two of the nicest guys I know" upon hearing the news. He said he'll reiterate to teammates to stay safe and don't go places where they don't know many people.
"When I found out they were OK, it took a burden off my heart," Paul said.
The team was scheduled to meet as a group Monday, Whittingham said, where he planned to address the situation. But, again, there were no plans to put new rules in place or make new declarations.
"We've had those discussions probably 6 or 7,000 times," Whittingham said. "We will definitely have them again today at our team meeting. We have constant reminders to players to stay out of bad situations and make good decisions. I think that's pretty common with any football team. That's something we address ad nauseam."
Associated Press writer Brady McCombs contributed to this report.