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Bond denied for former GSU player

Swope charged with aggravated battery; victim remains in Savannah hospital

Bond denied for former GSU player

Bond denied for former GSU player

Dominique Shawn Swope


Georgia Southern fullback Dominique Shawn Swope has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery, Statesboro police announced Tuesday morning.
Swope, 20, of Woodstock, Ga., turned himself in at 11 p.m. Monday at the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office after the Statesboro Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest, Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said Tuesday in a news release.
He is being held in Bulloch County Jail Tuesday without bond, according to jail officials.
Swope was involved in an altercation at the Cambridge at Southern apartment complex on Lanier Drive, which resulted in Cameron Zaquan Lewis, 19, of Lanier Drive, suffering “serious head trauma,” Turner said.
City police began their investigation Feb. 9 when they responded to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, where Lewis had been brought by EMS, police said. Lewis was later flown by helicopter to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah because of brain hemorrhaging and swelling, police reports indicate.
Cpl. Justin Samples, the public information officer for the Statesboro Police Department, said Tuesday — nine days after the initial incident — that Lewis was still at Memorial. Lewis’ condition wasn’t immediately available.
The case was turned over to Detective Sgt. James Winskey who, through further investigation, identified Swope as the offender, Turner said.
According to Georgia Code, aggravated battery means a person “maliciously causes bodily harm to another by depriving him or her of a member of his or her body, by rendering a member of his or her body useless, or by seriously disfiguring his or her body or a member thereof.”
The law states that someone who is convicted of aggravated battery faces a prison term of at least 1 year and a maximum of 20 years.
Lewis, a fullback, was on the 2013 roster. But when the incident occurred, he was no longer on the team, according to the university’s athletics website.
Georgia Southern University Police initially responded at 12:32 p.m. Feb. 9 to a unit in Eagle Village. When officers arrived, they found Lewis passed out in a bed, according to a GSU Police report. EMS arrived a short time later and took him to EGRMC.
A woman who witnessed the event told officers that Lewis “was in a physical altercation with current football players” in the parking lot of Cambridge at Southern-The Pines at about 1:30 a.m. Feb. 9. The woman said Lewis was “sucker punched” in the face, passed out and hit his head on the concrete, the report says.
The woman said Lewis never fully regained consciousness, according to the report.
She told GSU Police that the altercation arose after several incidents last semester involving football players’ apartments getting broken into, the report says. The woman added that “football players” were involved in “jumping” Lewis because they blamed him for the break-ins, according to the report.
Barrett Gilham, the director of Georgia Southern Athletics Media Relations, said in an email shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday that head coach Willie Fritz and Athletics Director Tom Kleinlein decided to remove Swope from the team. They had “several conversations with law enforcement officials” before making the decision, he wrote.
“(Swope’s) return to the team will be determined once he goes through the legal process and there is a better understanding of his involvement with this incident from a legal perspective,” Gilham said in the email.
After learning the incident happened at Cambridge at Southern-The Pines, GSU Police turned the investigation over to Statesboro police. City police responded to EGRMC at 3:10 p.m. Feb. 9, where the same woman who was interviewed by GSU Police told Statesboro officers that Lewis was brought to the hospital after being involved in an earlier altercation.
Swope was a preseason All-American before missing most of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his freshman and sophomore seasons, 2011 and 2012, and ranked in the top 25 among Football Championship Subdivision players for rushing yards per game in 2012 – one of only four sophomores to rank that high.
Anyone with information concerning the ongoing investigation is asked to contact Winksey at the Statesboro Police Department at (912) 764-9911. Anonymous tips may be submitted online at www.tipsoft.com or by sending a text message beginning with “TIPSSPD” to 274637 (CRIMES). All information is strictly confidential.

Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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