Miami safety Cooper shot, teammate returns fire

Updated: July 21, 2006, 4:32 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH MIAMI, Fla. -- Miami Hurricanes reserve safety Willie Cooper was shot in the buttocks when confronted in his yard Friday morning by an unknown person who fled after another player returned gunfire.

Police said Cooper was able to walk after being shot and the injury wasn't believed to be serious, but he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

After Cooper was shot, teammate and roommate Brandon Meriweather pulled a pistol from his pants pocket and fired three times at the person, who jumped a fence and fled with another person in a car, police said. It was unclear if the assailant was hit.

Police said Meriweather used his gun legally.

Cooper and Meriweather told police they noticed a suspicious car parked outside their home near campus shortly after 6:30 a.m. When they went outside to investigate, a person crouched next to the house jumped up and shot Cooper.

The Miami athletic department released a statement saying it was cooperating with the police investigation.

"Until the investigation is complete, we will not have any additional comment," the statement said.

The house is owned by Hurricanes defensive backs coach Tim Walton and rented to players with approval from the school's compliance office.

Cooper, a junior, has played mostly on special teams for three years. He is listed as a second-team safety on the spring depth chart.

Meriweather is a standout safety for the Hurricanes.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press