Star TCU football player dragged girlfriend, slammed her to ground, affidavit states

Replay: KaVontae Turpin’s 61-yard touchdown reception against SMU

Watch KaVontae Turpin's 61-yard touchdown reception against the SMU Mustangs.
Up Next
Watch KaVontae Turpin's 61-yard touchdown reception against the SMU Mustangs.

TCU star football player KaVontae Turpin was arrested Sunday, accused of assault with bodily injury of a family member, according to Tarrant County Jail records.

Turpin has been suspended from the football team and likely won’t play against Kansas on Saturday, coach Gary Patterson said.

“Everybody knows how I handle things like this,” Patterson said on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “My track record usually speaks for itself if you go back through it. We’re gathering information, but at this point in time he probably won’t play against Kansas.”

According to the arrest affidavit, which was obtained by the Star-Telegram, Turpin and his girlfriend, Raiesha Atwater, got into an altercation late Saturday night in which he “dragged” her across a parking lot and “slammed” her to the ground at an apartment complex located at 3517 South University Drive.

Atwater told officers the two had been romantically involved for five years and the altercation stemmed from Turpin believing she had sent photos of herself to other people.

Turpin dragged her across the apartment parking lot, although Atwater didn’t elaborate to officers on how he “dragged her.” Turpin then “slammed” her to the ground, which caused her pain, and the two began to wrestle.

Atwater got away and rushed to a neighboring apartment and police were called, according to the affidavit.

A witness described Turpin as “manhandling” Atwater when he dragged her across the parking lot, “grabbing her from behind with one arm across her neck.”

The witness said Atwater was kicking and yelling at Turpin during the ordeal, and then the two started another physical altercation beside a car. Turpin initially fled the scene, but returned a couple minutes later.

Kavontae Turpi_fitted.jpeg
KaVontae Turpin Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

Turpin has been released from the jail, a Tarrant County spokesman said Monday. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor and, if convicted, Turpin could face up to one year in prison and a $4,000 fine.

“Texas Christian University is aware that one of its students was recently arrested for a reported domestic situation,” the university said in a statement. “The university takes these types of reports very seriously and is continuing to gather information to determine next steps. TCU expects its students to behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law.

“The student also may face a charge of violating the University Code of Student Conduct, the results of which are independent and separate from any legal charges.”

This is not Turpin’s first arrest.

He was arrested last spring in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on multiple charges including battery against a woman who is believed to be the same girlfriend. The Las Cruces Police Department redacted the victim’s name in the criminal complaint obtained by the Star-Telegram.

Turpin pleaded not guilty to the battery charge, as well as a charge for criminal damage to the property of a household member (under $1,000). Turpin also faces a charge of interference with communications from that arrest.

A warrant is out for Turpin’s arrest stemming from those charges, the Las Cruces Magistrate Court confirmed Monday. Turpin failed to appear for a July 16 pre-trial hearing, and Judge Joel Cano issued a bench warrant July 17.

The incident happened last March during TCU’s spring break. Turpin and the woman were involved in a verbal altercation at first, and police were called to the scene. Turpin left under his own will, but returned to the woman’s apartment later that night.

The argument resumed, according to the criminal complaint, and turned physical. Turpin grabbed the woman’s arms, causing them to bruise, and also ripped her shirt. Turpin also slammed the woman’s cell phone on the counter, breaking the screen, and punched a hole in a door.

Turpin told officers that night they had to take him to jail because “he has nowhere else to go.” Turpin was visiting the woman believed to be his girlfriend during spring break.

TCU has yet to respond to a request for comment regarding Turpin’s arrest last spring, and if he faced any discipline from the university or football program from it.

Turpin, a senior from Monroe, Louisiana, is having a standout season for TCU. The 5-foot-9, 157-pounder is regarded as one of the top returners in the country.

He had a personal-best 99-yard kickoff return against Oklahoma on Saturday, his second touchdown return of the season. He had a 78-yard punt return for a TD against SMU.

Turpin also had a receiving touchdown in TCU’s 52-27 loss to OU. For the season, he has 29 receptions for 410 yards and three touchdowns.

Turpin ranks second in the Big 12 in all-purpose yards, averaging 132.7 yards a game.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram