Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Police arrested four Minot State University football players on misdemeanor drug charges and charged a fifth with attempted murder, saying that a linebacker who recently transferred to the school brawled with officers, knocking one out and leaving another with minor injuries.
The officers who were injured during the Friday night incident were responding to a report of suspected drug use in a vehicle parked off-campus in Minot, which is about 50 miles south of North Dakota's border with Canada, police said.
Four members of the team — Kwajo Bonsu, 22, Thomas Armstrong, 19, Grant Jansen, 18 and Leon LaDeaux, 21 — were each charged with two drug-related misdemeanors, Minot television station KXMC-TV reported Saturday. Police Sgt. Shane Haug told The Associated Press that the players were apparently smoking marijuana.
Jesse Ili, a 6-foot-tall, 220-pound linebacker for the Division II Beavers, tried to run away while officers were dealing with him, police Capt. John Klug said.
"They got him but that is where the fight ensued," he said.
Although no weapons were used, the fight got very violent, and Ili knocked one officer unconscious and left another with minor injuries before he was arrested, Klug said.
Both officers were treated at Trinity Health hospital and released. They were in good condition Saturday and recovering at home, Klug said. The decision to charge Ili with attempted murder was made during discussions with the state's attorney, he said.
In a story published in March on the team's website, which no longer lists Ili's name on the team roster, Minot State said Ili played fullback last season for Division I Fresno State University, in California. For two seasons before that, he played linebacker at Citrus College, where he earned All-Conference honors twice. Ili, whose hometown was listed as Tulare, Calif., was listed as a linebacker in the Minot State report.
Police were searching for a sixth person and asked the public for help in identifying that person.
Minot State released a statement Saturday saying the five players have been suspended and that school officials would not be commenting further about the case until more information about the investigation was made available.
Athletics department officials didn't immediately respond to phone messages left Saturday evening by the AP.
Minot State, which is in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, opens its season next Saturday against Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn.
This post has been updated.