Star player runs into the law

Photo: Bulloch County Sheriff's Office

Jennifer Curington

Star Georgia Southern University football player Dominique Swope was arrested Monday after an altercation left a former teammate with serious head trauma.

Swope turned himself in to the Bulloch County Sheriff’s office Monday after Statesboro Police Department put out a warrant for his arrest.

Swope was suspended indefinitely from the football team by head coach Willie Fritz and Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein and will remain off the roster until the legal proceedings are complete, according to a news release.

Swope and former GSU running back Cameron Lewis got into an altercation at Cambridge apartments off of Fair Road on Feb. 9, according to the incident report from Statesboro police. Friends then took Lewis to East Georgia Regional Medical Center where Statesboro police met them to begin the investigation.

GSU President Brooks Keel said that Kleinlein and Fritz made the right decision.

“They made the right decision to suspend him from the team and we’ll have to see what the court system does,” Keel said. “I think the decision that the coach and the AD made reflects very positively on the university and the expectations that we have for all of our student athletes, and for all of our students for that matter.”

The investigation that led to Swope’s arrest is still ongoing. Irvin Huggins, sophomore fullback, was indicated as the offender in the incident report. When asked about Huggins’s involvement in the situation, Corporal Justin Samples with Statesboro PD said he could not elaborate on the matter.

“We can’t comment on any current suspects. The fact that he is in the original report, he was a name that came up during the initial investigation. Through further investigation we ended up arresting Swope.”

Janada Jeter witnessed the fight and told Statesboro police that Lewis was “sucker punched” in the face, which caused him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. Lewis was transported via helicopter from East Georgia Regional to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah because his brain was bleeding and swelling.

According to the report, Jeter told police that the football players jumped him because they blamed him for multiple break-ins that occurred last semester targeting GSU football players.

Swope is charged with aggravated battery since the charge in Georgia means that a victim has lost function of a body part temporarily or permanently, said Samples. The charge he faces is a felony and he could go to jail for a year or more and receive $1,000 or more in fines.

Samples said he is unaware if Swope is still in custody or if he has been released on bond, citing that the courts would make that decision.

Sports Information Director Barret Gilham said the athletics department has no further comment on the matter than what was in the news release.

A reporter for The George-Anne attempted to ask Fritz about the situation at his public appearance in the University Store yesterday, but was stopped by Sports Information Director Rosemary Carter who said they would not be speaking about the issue.