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Running back LeGarrette Blount led attack, beaten Bucs fan says

TAMPA — The victim of a severe beating said Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount was "the leader" of the assault and directed the two men who attacked him, according to a Tampa police report.

The report said Blount refused to cooperate with the investigation of a possible felony battery, which took place in the parking garage of his apartment complex.

Blount, 25, was not charged in the Sept. 11 incident, nor was he accused of any direct violence. Reached by the St. Petersburg Times by phone Tuesday afternoon, Blount said, "I don't have anything to say about that."

Blount's attorney, Ryan Morgan, said his client "didn't do anything. There was an altercation, but it didn't involve LeGarrette. He wasn't ring-leading anything. But what LeGarrette does do is play in the NFL.

"When this guy found out who he was,'' Morgan continued, his attorney called the Bucs and asked for $95,000 in compensation and warned that if that was not forthcoming, the attorney would go public. Morgan said the request was rejected.

According to the police report of the incident, Gary Holmer, 34, and his girlfriend, Emily Buethe, 29, both wearing Bucs shirts, drove a 2008 Toyota pickup into the Visconti at International Drive apartments not far from Raymond James Stadium about 6:30 p.m. They were returning from that days' Bucs game against the Detroit Lions.

Their pickup hit the mirror on a 2005 Ford Expedition, next to which Blount and two men were standing. Holmer told police he did not want to stop next to the Expedition because his pickup would block traffic. He pulled around a corner, stopped and rolled down his window.

He said the Expedition came around the corner and cut him off. Three men got out and one of them "reached in and punched (Holmer) several times on his eye, nose and jaw,'' according to the report. Holmer "realized a second male was on his hood and was jumping onto his windshield and ultimately shattering the glass."

Holmer said the third man "was the leader and directed the actions of the other two.'' Buethe supported that version of events.

Holmer told police "the third male was very large." That man, who turned out to be the 6-foot, 247-pound Blount, never hit anyone or touched the victim's pickup, the report said.

Holmer told police he feared he had a broken nose. He "also stated that his jaw is misaligned and he believes his jaw bone is swollen or displaced because he cannot chew food,'' according to the police report.

When police contacted Blount, he made a statement about the crash but days later would "not discuss his involvement in the'' attack, according to the report.

The report said police did not pursue possible charges of "burglary for the purpose of committing battery, felony battery and felony criminal mischief'' at Holmer's request.

Morgan, Blount's attorney, said his client perceived Holmer to be drunk that day. Police noted beer cans in the bed of Holmer's truck. In January 2008, Holmer was arrested and accused of DUI. The charge was later reduced to reckless driving.

Holmer told police investigating the September incident that he went to the Bucs game with friends and was the designated driver, a detail that Buethe, his girlfriend, supported.

Holmer said in a statement released Tuesday night that he just wanted to recover his "medical expenses and damages." His attorney, Brian Hoag, denied that this was a "money grab," adding: "The facts … in the police report clearly reflect that our client was the victim of severe bodily injury and property damages."

Blount, who played college ball for the University of Oregon, gained unwanted national attention in 2009 after his team lost its season opening game to Boise State 19-8. TV cameras caught him sucker punching a Boise player. Oregon suspended Blount for most of that season.

Blount has no criminal record in either Oregon or Florida.

No NFL team picked Blount in the 2010 NFL draft. He signed as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans and got into a practice field fight with a teammate. Tampa Bay picked him up after he was released by the Titans. He was the Bucs' leading rusher last year.

Buccaneer communications director Jonathan Grella issued a statement that said: "LeGarrette Blount immediately informed the organization of this situation back in September. We have reviewed the incident report and spoken with the police. The Tampa Police Department confirmed that the case is closed."

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Staff writer Stephen Holder contributed to this report.

Running back LeGarrette Blount led attack, beaten Bucs fan says 12/06/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 10:52pm]
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