Two Texas Christian University football players were arrested Monday afternoon, accused of beating up fellow students and stealing their Keystone Light beer, authorities said.
TCU senior defensive end Michael Rea Tuaua, 22, and redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Petties-Wilson, 19, face charges of robbery with bodily injury, which is a second-degree felony.
Bail for each was set at $15,000. They had been released on bond from the Fort Worth jail Monday night.
Tuaua and Petties-Wilson have been “suspended from the TCU football program for a violation of team rules,” athletic department spokesman Mark Cohen said in a statement.
Coach Gary Patterson defended Tuaua to reporters at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “I’m just telling you, as far as just a person, I’m not going to let you say this kid’s a bad person,” he said. “If he made a mistake, he made a mistake. OK?”
One of the injured students told investigators that Tuaua and Petties-Wilson stole a case of beer after attacking him and his friends about 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 4, Fort Worth police Detective S.L. Horner wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit.
In an interview later with Tuaua, with his attorney present, Tuaua told Horner that he and three friends, including Petties-Wilson, were at a party that night and were asked to leave. Once outside the party, Tuaua said, he heard yelling and saw one of his friends “surrounded by three males.”
Tuaua said he punched one of the men to get him off his friend, according to the affidavit.
Police officers who responded to a 911 call reported hearing “loud voices” and a group of people in the street in the 2700 block of West Lowden Street. One man was lying on the ground.
One of the complainants reported that a football player threw a can of beer at him. He yelled at them, asking why it was thrown. That’s when the “suspects ran toward” the student, police reported.
One of the players, wearing a TCU athletics backpack, hit one of the other students with a closed fist in his left temple, according to the affidavit.
It is unclear if that student was attacked again or if it was one of his friends, but a heavily redacted arrest warrant affidavit issued for the two football players states that a student was on the ground in a “fetal position” while the players were “hitting and kicking him.”
The players stopped to grab the case of beer before running off through a nearby alley.
MedStar transported one of the men to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital with minor injuries, MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky said.
Two others were treated at the scene, he said.
Asked to leave party
At the scene, detectives found a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, a bottle of Heineken, a pair of red and black sunglasses and a black iPhone that rang while officers were there, according to police.
The ID on the phone popped up as “Mike Tuaua,” according to the arrest affidavit.
In a Sept. 6 interview with Horner, Tuaua told police he was asked to leave a party but also said he and his friends decided to leave because there were no “girls present.”
The residents who threw the party told Horner that Tuaua “punched and broke a window on the exterior of the house” and was told to leave.
After that, the fight broke out, according to police.
While questioning Tuaua with his attorney present, Horner said, “I pointed out the distinct physical difference between Petties-Wilson and the victims, who are substantially physically smaller and asked him to explain why he felt Petties-Wilson was in danger.”
“Tuaua did not answer that question,” the affidavit said.
Petties-Wilson declined to make a statement to police.
Tuaua told detectives he does not drink Keystone Light, but a search warrant executed on Sept. 6 recovered three cans in the back yard of his house, the affidavit said.
‘Not real happy’
Tuaua played in all 12 games during the regular season last year, but he missed the Peach Bowl with a shoulder injury. He was No. 4 on the team in sacks with five and also had 30 tackles, three fumbles forced and three fumble recoveries.
Tuaua played in the season opener at Minnesota but did not appear in either of the next two games.
Patterson did not say whether he was injured, but said last week he did not have a status to report on Tuaua.
Two weeks ago, Patterson hinted at dissatisfaction in “buy-in” on the team.
“If we’re not acting right on and off the field, then I’ve got a problem,” Patterson said at his weekly news conference on Sept. 8. “Right now, I’m not real happy with the buy-in.”
Tuaua is one of eight defensive starters the Horned Frogs are currently missing. Six others are out because of injury. One player is on a leave from the team.
The Horned Frogs have started 3-0 and play at Texas Tech on Saturday.
Petties-Wilson did not play as a freshman in 2014, taking a redshirt year. He was listed as a backup on the depth chart this season but did not appear in the first three games. Patterson had not mentioned his name in connection with playing time this fall.
Petties-Wilson is from San Diego. He was also recruited by Memphis and Nevada.
Other legal troubles
TCU has a recent history of player arrests.
In 2014, two players, Brandon Carter and LaDarius Brown, were arrested on marijuana charges in separate incidents. Brown was later dismissed from the team.
In 2012, four players were arrested as part of a campus drug investigation and were dismissed from the team. It came one season after the program reached its highest point under Patterson with an undefeated season and a victory in the Rose Bowl.
Also in 2012, starting quarterback Casey Pachall was charged with DWI and missed part of the season. He entered a treatment facility and returned to the team. His absence gave Trevone Boykin his first extended playing opportunity at quarterback at TCU.
Staff writer Carlos Mendez contributed to this report.