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USF Football Player Arrested, Suspended for Campus Gunfire

Oct 12, 2015

A University of South Florida football player has been arrested and suspended from the team for allegedly  shooting the exterior of a campus residence hall early Sunday morning.

University Police released a statement saying that Benjamin Knox, 21, of DeLand, allegedly fired a number of gunshots that hit Holly D residence hall on the Tampa campus about 4 a.m. Sunday.

No one was injured in the shooting, and the dormitory sustained some damage. 

Officers heard shots and responded to the area near the Crescent Hill parking garage, located next to the Marshall Student Center. A witness also reported hearing shots and the screeching of tires. Officers found a parked vehicle containing an open gun case as well as a box of .45-caliber ammunition. They also found a number of spent shell casings near the vehicle, according to the police statement.

Officers determined the vehicle belonged to Knox, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman who lives in the Holly D residence hall. After contacting Knox in his room, officers said they found a handgun believed to be used in the shooting.

Knox was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm on school property and shooting into a building.

He was held on $15,000 bond at the Hillsborough County jail, according to the Associated Press. Records didn't show whether he had an attorney.

A University Police spokesman said Knox didn't give officers a reason for the shooting. Knox, who played in USF's 45-24 victory over Syracuse in Saturday's homecoming game, was suspended from the football team. "USF Athletics is aware of an incident involving student-athlete Benjamin Knox that occurred early Sunday morning," USF Athletics said in a statement. "The student-athlete in question has been immediately suspended from all team activities. We are in the process of gathering more information on the matter and are working with the proper authorities.  This type of behavior is not consistent with the values of our institution and will not be tolerated." 

This is the second time this season violent activity has crossed the path of USF's football team. lIn September, former USF football player Elkino Watson was stabbed to death and current student Desmond Horne was injured in an incident outside an Ybor City nightclub. Randolph Graham, 23, faces second-degree murder charges in that case.

Shortly after that incident, USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan said coaches and athletic staff were talking to student-athletes about trying to avoid possibly dangerous situations.

"We teach about behavior, and we teach about reminding all of them, whether you're a football player or any student-athlete, that you have a responsibility to make sure that you recognize situations that you're in and you get out of those situations," Harlan said.