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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

UConn coach discusses his player's death

UConn Stabbing Football

STORRS, Conn. – One teammate performed first aid while another comforted a University of Connecticut football player who was fatally stabbed during a fight outside a school-sanctioned dance over the weekend, their coach said Monday.

Coach Randy Edsall wouldn’t identify the teammates or say how many players witnessed the fight that led to the death of 20-year-old Jasper Howard.

“One had Jasper in his arms and the other was pressuring where the wound went in and had blood on his hands,” Edsall said. “And those two young men are pretty deeply affected right now.”

The state’s medical examiner’s office said Monday that Howard died from a single stab wound to the abdomen. The death was ruled a homicide.

A second player stabbed in the attack, 19-year-old Brian Parker of Sarasota, Fla., sustained minor injuries. The sophomore wide receiver, who is academically ineligible to play this season, was treated and released from a local hospital.

Parker was able to point out one of the men allegedly involved in the attack, who was still at the scene, according to Monday’s police report.

Police arrested that man, 21-year-old Johnny Hood, after the stabbing and charged him with interfering with an officer and breach of peace. According to the report, he gave police a false name. Hood was arraigned Monday and ordered held on $100,000 bond.

He has not been charged with Howard’s death and university police Maj. Ronald Blicher said authorities were not anticipating any “significant changes in the investigation” Monday.

Howard, a junior and starting cornerback, came to the school to get away from the violence on the streets of his hometown of Miami. He was the first person in his family to go to college.

Joanglia Howard said she got news of her son’s death about 4 a.m. Sunday, and described him as a “good kid” who never got into trouble.

“All I wanted him to do was go to school and get an education, and he was doing what I asked him to do,” she told WSVN-TV in Miami.

Edsall picked up Howard’s parents Monday at a Connecticut airport. He planned to take them to visit the surgeon who tried to save their son’s life, and the medical examiner who has custody of the body.

Police interviewed dozens of witnesses but said no other arrests were expected Monday.

“We’re pursuing active investigative leads,” Blicher said. “The investigation will continue into this week.”

Blicher said Howard was mortally wounded during a fight between two groups that included students and non-students. The altercation broke out just after a fire alarm went off in a student center, forcing around 300 people to evacuate from a party and dance sponsored by the school’s West Indian Awareness Organization.

The violence came less than 12 hours after UConn’s 38-25 homecoming victory over Louisville. Edsall identified Howard’s body at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., Sunday morning.

The team will wear a sticker with Howard’s initials on its helmets for the rest of the season and will carry Howard’s helmet or jersey to away games, Edsall said.

The coach said he doesn’t know if the two teammates who helped Howard will play when the Huskies visit Big East foe West Virginia on Saturday.

“I’ve talked to both of them each day,” he said. “I’ve got to see where they’re at today, see where they’re at tomorrow and I will tell them if they don’t feel they are mentally ready to play, that’s their decision, and I’ll honor whatever decision they want to make.”

Blicher said officials do not believe the stabbing was premeditated, nor do they think anyone else is in danger.

Howard’s death was especially tragic because he was about to become a father, Edsall said. Neither police nor the

University provided any additional information about the expectant mother, whom Edsall identified as Howard’s girlfriend.

A student memorial service was being planned. The campus co-op store sold out of T-shirts styled like jerseys with Howard’s No. 6 on Monday morning.

Administrators from West Virginia, Connecticut and the Big East Conference talked on Sunday, but postponing the game was not discussed, school officials said.

Edsall said his team will resume practicing on Tuesday.

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