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Coach, Ute players speak out on stabbings of two athletes

Published January 21, 2008 3:02 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 4:00 PM- Two days after a pair of University of Utah football players were stabbed and a third athlete assaulted following a party in Salt Lake City, police have few suspects in a case that appears to be a random attack.

Utes football players Paul Kruger and Greg Newman and Kruger's younger brother, David, were jumped by a group of 10 to 12 men after leaving a party hosted for a group of recruits visiting the school, said Paul and David Kruger's father, also named Paul.

Paul Kruger said his sons didn't know their perpetrators and believe the attack was random. University of Utah Football Coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement released this afternoon that the crime "appears to be a classic example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"The players told police officers that they were walking to their car when several cars drove up, people got out and accosted them," Whittingham said.

Salt Lake County sheriff's Lt. Paul Jaroscak said Monday police don't have any suspects in the stabbings, which are still under investigation.

Deputies were dispatched to a party near 2900 South and 700 East around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday for a noise complaint, Jaroscak said.

They left the scene, but five minutes later Salt Lake City police reported finding three stabbing victims at1500 South and 700 East, about a mile and a half from the scene of the party, Jaroscak said.

"It appears the [victims] were either leaving or arriving at the party. They were walking and people drove by and yelled at them. They jumped out of their cars and began stabbing them," he said.

Paul Kruger said his two sons, Newman, and a fourth person were about a block from the party when at least two cars drove up and several men got out of the vehicles and began fighting with the players. The group had left David's recruiting dinner at Rodizio Grill in Trolley Square prior to the incident, the elder Kruger said.

Newman, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound junior from Thousand Oaks, Calif., was stabbed in the back with a screwdriver, and Kruger, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound freshman from Orem, was stabbed with a knife in the stomach and right side of the ribs, the father said. He underwent surgery and is expected to be hospitalized for several more days, his father said.

David Kruger, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound senior at Timpanogos High who has orally committed to the Utes, was hit in the head and suffered two slices to his cheek that required stitches, as well as a broken nose, his mother, Jennifer, said.

David Kruger told his father he was hit from behind with brass knuckles during the attack. The teenager was feeling well enough today to go to the gym to workout later this afternoon, his father said.

University of Utah Football Coach Kyle Whittingham plans to release a statement on the incident this afternoon.

Paul Kruger is one of the most promising young defensive players the Utes have. He was named second-team Freshman All-America by Sporting News and Scout.com for the 2007 season. He was fourth on the team with 63 tackles, including six tackles for a loss, five pass breakups and three fumble recoveries.

His father said he wasn't sure how long his son's injuries would keep him from training.

"It will probably be at least a month before he can start lifting," Paul Kruger said.

Newman played in 13 games and finished with 12 tackles. Information on Newman's condition was not immediately available on Monday.

ealberty@sltrib.com mrogers@sltrib.com




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