Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cal football players arrested on suspicion of robbery

BERKELEY — Two Cal football players have been arrested on suspicion of robbery, three weeks after a pair of assailants burst into a dormitory room and robbed the occupants at gunpoint.

Gary Doxy, a junior who was kicked off the team over the summer, and R.J. Garrett, both 21, were arrested by UC Berkeley police Monday afternoon. Both were arraigned on robbery and attempted robbery charges. Garrett faces an additional charge for possessing a stolen gun unrelated to the robbery.

The men were due to enter pleas in court this morning.

The university said Tuesday that police found the men with property stolen during the brazen Sept. 30 incident on UC Berkeley's Clark Kerr Campus. The robbers carried BB guns and took a laptop computer and a wallet, police said.

Police said the incident apparently was prompted by racist comments made at a party by a drunken member of the men's crew team; the rower has since been suspended from the team. An African-American athlete at the party was offended by the comments, police said, which led to the robbery as retaliation.

The two 18-year-old robbery victims were not involved in party incident, the university said, and were targeted by mistake.

"We reiterate our deep sympathies for the victims of this robbery and hope this case is resolved judiciously," said Harry Le Grande, vice chancellor for student affairs, in a written statement. "Obviously, we are greatly saddened whenever UC AdvertisementBerkeley students are involved in a criminal act, whether as victims or suspects."

Detectives had been focusing their investigation on Cal athletes since the robbery, which set the university community on edge and led to increased security. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said Tuesday that she planned to speak to all coaches and athletes about the need to respect one another.

"I certainly don't feel like we have a generalized problem," she said. But, "all of this disturbs me," she said.

Doxy, a Long Beach native dismissed from the team over the summer for unspecified rule violations, had been at the scene of the July 2005 shooting death of Dartmouth College student Meleia Willis-Starbuck in Berkeley. He was grazed by a bullet in that crime.

Garrett, a sophomore whose father is the head football coach at Compton's Crenshaw High School, was ranked as one of the top fullbacks in the country in high school but had limited playing time at Cal. He was suspended from the team Sunday, when coaches discovered he was under investigation, and was permanently removed Tuesday, Barbour said.

Neither man, nor their relatives in Southern California, could be reached for comment Monday.

Doxy, Garrett, as well as the crew team member, face campus discipline as well.

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