Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora met Monday with three players hospitalized in fair condition after a weekend shooting at a club and said they have apologized for ”letting the team down.”
Linebackers Martez Smith and Tim Green, along with defensive end Deddrick Jones were all shot at Remington’s Hunt Club at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday after an altercation started inside the club and spilled outside into the parking lot, Hattiesburg police said.
Smith and Jones talked to Fedora on Monday morning at the hospital, but Green had to write his message because he can’t speak because of his injuries.
Hattiesburg police said all three players were shot in the upper body. Fedora wouldn’t elaborate on the players’ injuries, but said all three were ”in good spirits.”
”They’re anxious to see their teammates right now,” Fedora added.
A police investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.
Sgt. Allen Murray said that police spoke with several witnesses who heard gunshots and saw ”muzzle flashes” at the club. Murray said the shooting could be gang-related.
Jon Kalahar, a spokesman with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agents are working with Hattiesburg police in tracking down leads in the case.
Kalahar says agents are ”going to neighborhood to neighborhood” with police to aid in the investigation.
Fedora said between eight and 10 Southern Miss players were at the club when the shooting occurred.
”Anytime you’ve got alcohol involved probably, you’ve got problems no doubt,” Fedora said. ”That’s anywhere in the country.”
The shooting came hours after Southern Miss beat No. 25 Central Florida 31-21 in Orlando. Jones and Green played in that game.
”We constantly talk about making good decisions with our football,” Fedora said. ”These are 18, 19, 20-year-old kids … They don’t think the same way we do. But I know making decisions is part of the growing process coming from a young man to a full man. You have to make decisions on your own and understand there are consequences.”
Smith, a 22-year-old from Canton, Miss., was the team’s starting middle linebacker before a season-ending knee injury last month. Jones, a 23-year-old from Bastrop, La., has started all 10 games on the defensive line, making 26 tackles, including 3 1/2 for a loss. Green, a 21-year-old from Columbia S.C., has played in seven games as a backup, making four tackles.
Fedora said Southern Miss (7-3, 4-2 C-USA) would continue its normal practice schedule in preparation to face Houston (5-5, 4-3) on Saturday at Roberts Stadium.
”We didn’t change our routine,” Fedora said. ”We went back to doing what we do. I still think that’s very important.”