Hanson kicked off team for violating ban on going out
RENO, Nev. -- A Nevada basketball player, who was beaten unconscious and robbed at a Halloween party where three people were shot to death, has been kicked off the team because he had been told not to go out that night, Wolf Pack coach Mark Fox said Tuesday night.
Tyrone Hanson, a 6-foot-6 sophomore forward from New York, was severely beaten early Sunday at a Reno home where a fight erupted, resulting in the triple homicide, police said. He was treated and released from a Reno hospital.
Fox said Hanson, who played in all 30 games for the Wolf Pack off the bench last season, already had been held out of a scrimmage on Saturday for violating team rules.
"He again violated our policy by going out socially that evening while he had been directed not to,'' Fox said.
"Tyrone and other student-athletes in attendance did not break the law, but Tyrone understands the high standard of behavior that is expected in our program,'' he said.
Hanson said in a statement released by the university Tuesday night that he understood the decision and wanted to extend his sympathies to the three victims.
"I have enjoyed my time here at Nevada and I am sad to see it come to an end. I want to thank Coach Fox for helping me understand what it means to be a man,'' he said.
A brother of Nevada senior offensive lineman Charles Manu is one of two suspects who have been charged in connection with the case.
Nevada football coach Chris Ault confirmed earlier that some of his football players attended the party but that he did not anticipate any of them would face any disciplinary action.
Nevada athletic director Cary Groth said Tuesday night she supported Fox's decision. She said it was up to individual coaches to set policies for their teams.
The fatal shootings at a home rented by university students were prompted by a party crasher who bumped into Hanson while dancing and later beat him and stole his wallet, Reno police said.
Last season Hanson averaged 1.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.1 minutes per game. He was one of nine returning letter-winners on the team. Hanson graduated from St. Mary's High in Manhasset, N.Y., and then attended Bridgton Academy of North Bridgton, Maine.
Fox said that he specifically had told Hanson not to go out Saturday night, but Groth said it was her understanding Fox had "asked the team not to go out Saturday night.''
"I think he had asked the team to stay in Saturday night,'' she told reporters at a news conference.
Groth said they were trying to determine if any other basketball players had attended the party but that Hanson was "the only one I know of at this point in time.''
Fox indicated earlier that some of his other players may have been at the party before the fight broke out but did not address that Tuesday night. Groth said she did not know if that was true, but if it was, they too would be in violation of the policy.
"We're trying to get all the facts right now. So I don't want to answer that without the facts,'' she told reporters.
Saili Manu and Samisone Taukitoku, both 19 of Reno, were arrested on suspicion of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and brandishing a firearm. Their bail was set at $500,000 each.
Police said they may also be charged with the deaths of Derek Jensen, 23, Reno, a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno; former UNR student Nathan Viljoen, 23, Fallon; and Charles Kelly, 21, Truckee, Calif.
Detectives also are looking for a "person of interest'' who left the scene separately.
Saili Manu, an all-state defensive tackle at Reno McQueen High School in 2005, wore his brother's Nevada football jersey to the party, police said.
Police said Hanson was arguing with Taukitoku, who had bumped him in an area where people were dancing. Taukitoku and Manu allegedly beat Hanson unconscious and stole his wallet and belongings, police said, Taukitoku and Manu both had pistols, police said.
Viljoen was shot in the kitchen, Jensen was shot in the driveway and Kelly was found in the backyard.
It was unknown whether Manu and Taukitoku knew Hanson or anyone at the party, police said. Two of their 16-year-old relatives who crashed the party with them were booked Sunday into the Jan Evans Juvenile Detention Center for curfew and drinking violations, police said.
Police said the incident was not gang-related.
"It's tragic, it really is,'' Police Lt. Robert McDonald told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "These people were killed for no reason.''
McDonald said more witnesses who have "pieces to the puzzle'' need to come forward.
"You don't go to a party thinking that you'll get shot and killed,'' McDonald said. "Why would anyone even bring a gun to a party?''
Scott Jensen said that his son, Derek, and another UNR student were able to get one of the men out of the house after he shot someone in the kitchen.
"Derek was not out of control, far from it,'' Scott Jensen told the Gazette-Journal. "The problem wasn't the party or the kids. It was the people who showed up with guns.''
Megan Records, Derek's girlfriend, said most the partygoers were college students.
"This was not a teen house party,'' she said. "The wrong people were showing up, like football and basketball players.''
"We were going to leave, but he had to be a damn hero,'' she said Monday as she clutched her boyfriend's Los Angeles Dodgers T-shirt and sobbed.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Lawsuit: Tulsa failed to protect woman from player
- Sources: Charleston close to naming coach
- Maryland to guarantee athletic scholarships
- MAC, ESPN agree to new 13-year media deal