Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

5 Cal U. Football Players Arrested in Assault Victim, 30, Hospitalized with Brain Injury; Gannon Game Canceled

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

5 Cal U. Football Players Arrested in Assault Victim, 30, Hospitalized with Brain Injury; Gannon Game Canceled

Article excerpt

California University of Pennsylvania canceled and forfeited its home football game Saturday with Gannon University after five team members were arrested for an assault outside an off-campus restaurant that left a 30-year-old man very seriously injured.

The assault followed an exchange of words between a man and his girlfriend outside Spuds restaurant in California and the football players, according to criminal complaints filed with Brownsville District Judge Joshua Kanalis.

The university, in a statement, said all five had been suspended from school.

California police Chief Rick Encapera said the five men were arrested during practice Thursday. They were arraigned later by Judge Kanalis.

The five are James Williamson, 20, of Parkville, Md., a junior defensive back; Corey L. Ford, 22, of Harrisburg, a senior defensive back; Jonathan Jacoma Barlow, 21, of East Liberty, a sophomore defensive lineman; Rodney Dwight Gillin, 20, of West Lawn, Pa., a junior defensive back; and D'Andre Jamal Dunkley, 19, of Philadelphia, a redshirt freshman tight end.

All were being held on $500,000 bonds at the Washington County Correctional Facility, charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, harassment and conspiracy.

The bonds were set so high, the chief said, because the injuries to Lewis Campbell, 30, of West Chester, Pa., were so serious. Chief Encapera said the man has a traumatic brain injury and that the lower part of his brain has shifted 80 degrees. He is not a student.

According to the complaints, one of the players got into an argument with the woman, Shareese Asparagus, 22, of West Chester, outside Spuds restaurant off campus. The chief said she is a student at the university. Mr. Campbell stepped in to defend her and was attacked, police wrote.

The complaints said Mr. Campbell was "struck, shoved [and], kicked" into unconsciousness. He was taken by helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital.

The five men could be heard chanting "football strong" as they left the area, Chief Encapera said.

Spuds owner Jeff Shuman said his staff learned of the incident about 1:45 a.m. Thursday, when an ambulance and police cars converged outside the restaurant at 227 Wood St.

He said witnesses told him that one of the football players said something to Ms. Asparagus, and a man later identified as Mr. Campbell intervened. More words were exchanged and the assault followed.

The victim "was hit in the face very hard and then stepped on or kicked," Mr. Shuman said.

"He was seizing, basically lying on the ground, vomiting and not necessarily responsive, basically in a state of shock," Mr. Shuman said.

Mr. Shuman said an emergency worker told him the victim, who was not a Cal U student, had a footprint on his face when he was loaded into the medical helicopter, which landed in Rotary Park before it left for Pittsburgh.

Mr. Shuman said it was the latest in what he said were a troubling number of fights this year, some involving students and others not.

"There's been way too much of it," he said.

The school said in light of what took place, it was canceling Saturday's home football game against Gannon University.

"Our hearts and our prayers go out to the victim, his family and his friends. All else pales in comparison," said interim Cal U president Geraldine Jones.

The interim president issued the following statement:

"California University does not tolerate violent behavior, and the five student-athletes charged in connection with this incident will face University sanctions, along with any penalties imposed by law. …

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