Six Washington State football players are persons of interest after a weekend brawl left two students hospitalized and more with minor injuries.
Pullman police commander Chris Tennant said the police have confirmed WSU football players were present at the party but expects a lengthy investigation to determine their level of involvement.
Detectives were handed the case Monday morning.
The trouble began early Saturday morning, when witnesses claim a group began throwing firecrackers or fireworks at attendees of a student party in Pullman. The group was asked to leave, at which point a verbal altercation escalated into a physical one.
Cellphone video of the fight, taken by a partygoer, shows a number of people involved, many of whom do not appear to be athletes.
The fight left one student unconscious with a bloody wound on the back of his neck and another, 21-year-old senior Alex Rodriguez, with a broken jaw that required facial reconstructive surgery.
“We’re looking at this as a very serious felony assault level based on the injuries to two victims,” Tennant said. “I would like to make arrests later in the week. I don’t know if that’s a realistic timeline. I expect this to be a lengthy investigation. A lot of people have to be interviewed.”
Bill Stevens, WSU’s associate director of athletics, said coaches are aware of the allegations but would not comment further, calling them “a team matter.”
Athletic director Bill Moos later said the athletic department is cooperating with a police investigation and are gathering facts to assist. He said the department will refrain from comment until the investigation is complete.
A GoFundMe campaign to pay Rodriguez’s medical bills raised approximately $2,000 of an $8,000 goal as of Monday morning.