Two football players accused of firing gunshots outside a campus residence hall last Sunday morning allegedly did it in celebration of the team’s Homecoming victory over Syracuse, police said Friday.
Backup cornerback Lamar Robbins was taken into custody Thursday afternoon after University Police (UP) identified him as a participant in the shooting along with redshirt freshman offensive lineman Benjamin Knox. Both are alleged to have fired several shots from a .45-caliber handgun that struck the exterior of the Holly D residence hall, where Knox lives.
No one was injured in the incident.
Robbins, 22, is charged with discharging a weapon on school property and providing false information to a lawenforcement officer after lying to authorities about his involvement during the investigation — a second-degree felony and misdemeanor, respectively. The junior was released from jail late Friday on $15,500 bail, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office report.
The 21-year-old Knox was previously arrested shortly after the incident last Sunday and faces felony charges possessing or discharging a firearm on campus and shooting into an occupied dwelling. He was released the next day on $32,500 bond, which was increased from $15,000 after surveillance footage identified him as one of the shooters.
During the initial investigation, police found an empty box of ammunition and an open gun case inside Knox’s car- inside the Crescent Hill parking garage, which is adjacent to Hally D. They later located Knox and the gun inside his dorm room.
Both players remain suspended indefinitely from all team activities pending the outcome of the investigation. Police do not believe anyone else was involved.
According to UP assistant Chief Chris Daniel, neither Knox nor Robbins have provided authorities with a motive for the shooting. But Daniel said evidence and witness statements point to the gunfire being “celebratory-based.”
“The gunshots were not aimed at each other or the result of some type of conflict,” Daniel said. “We can’t get the suspects to give us any information with regard to the intent behind it. We have to assume it’s just reckless discharge of a firearm on the university campus.”
Robbins was not immediately implicated, but became a person of interest after witnesses placed him in the area at the time of the shooting. Daniel said they have reason to believe that he and Knox shared the same firearm — a Glock .45 ACP handgun — after a search warrant served on Robbins’ vehicle and apartment turned up no other weapons.
Before Saturday’s game at Connecticut, athletic director Mark Harlan told the Tampa Bay Times he was disappointed by the incident, but quelled doubts about a lack of discipline within the program.
“I would say we have tremendous character on this football team and tremendous character amongst our many student-athletes,” Harlan said. “Obviously, when this happens, you look in and say what more can you do? And obviously, what we will continue to do is work on that messaging so we put everybody in the best opportunities to succeed.”
Robbins, a Miami native, has four tackles this season and has appeared in four games. Knox, a former four-star recruit out of DeLand, has played in five.