A game of "manhunt" apparently sparked a shooting alert on the University of Kentucky campus Sunday night and led to charges against four UK football players, according to documents filed Thursday in Fayette District Court.
The players — Dorian Baker, Drew Barker, Tymere Dubose and Stanley Williams — all are charged with second-degree disorderly conduct in documents filed with the court Thursday morning. The four, all freshmen, were served with summonses overnight.
The four are sitting out Saturday's South Carolina game as punishment for their role in last weekend's incident and might face additional internal team discipline.
According to the court documents, the players came forward Monday morning and admitted their involvement in the incident that led to the campus alert. By then, UK police had released surveillance photos from the Kirwan-Blanding dormitory area Sunday night.
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According to complaints filed with the court Thursday, the players admitted they and some other individuals were playing a "game of manhunt" Sunday night, in which they would go outside their dorm, "chase each other around and shoot each other" with BB guns. They had up to four of the BB guns Sunday night, according to the complaints.
UK officials instituted an alert about 10 p.m. Sunday after reports of shots fired in the Kirwan-Blanding area. Campus and city police searched the area, but found no one. Students in that part of campus were asked to remain in their dorms until the alert was lifted about midnight Sunday.
According to citations filed in court Thursday, witnesses reported seeing a group of six to eight men, one of whom was observed with a gun in his hand. Two witnesses also reported hearing up to three gunshots, the court complaints say.
According to one complaint, Dubose stated that when the group went outside for the manhunt game, he fired his BB gun into the air to see whether it was working properly. Dubose said that he noticed a "frat guy" running away after he fired the shot and that members of the group decided at that point to split up and leave the area.
According to information filed with the court, Williams told authorities he left the group and was walking away alone when he got a cellphone call that police were coming. Williams then threw his gun into a dumpster and returned to his dorm, according to the court filing.
According to a separate complaint, Dubose told officials he discarded his BB gun under a tree at University and Complex drives after realizing police were on their way. Barker also stated that he discarded his gun under a tree at the same location, documents say.
According to another filed complaint, Baker stated that his gun was broken and that he discarded it at the rear of Baldwin Hall.
It apparently was the "airsoft pistol" that UK police said they found Sunday night. They released pictures of that gun Monday morning.
UK police said late Tuesday that they recovered a total of four guns.
According to the court complaints, the four players admitted their actions "created a hazardous situation that served no legitimate purpose."
Manhunt is a game that teens or young adults are playing in various parts of the country, often using "airsoft guns" that resemble real firearms but shoot only small pellets.
According to news reports, police in Newton Township, Pa., almost fired on three teens who were playing manhunt with airsoft guns in August. Officers rushed to the scene that night thinking they were dealing with a real shootout, not a game, according to news accounts.
Robert Mock, UK vice president for student affairs, said in a statement Thursday that he could not discuss any possible student code charges against the four players.
But Mock said that in such cases the university gathers evidence — including police reports — and meetings are held between the director of student conduct and the student involved. If the director determines that a violation has occurred, the director and student try to establish a "restorative action plan" that allows for "student learning and repair of any harm done to the community," according to Mock.
If the incident can't be resolved that way, the student gets a formal hearing before a three-member board comprised of faculty and staff. The student may appeal that panel's decision to the University Appeals Board. The appeal board's decision would be final, according to Mock.
The full process can take about 60 days, Mock said.
Under Kentucky law, second-degree disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor covering offenses such as fighting, making unreasonably loud noises or creating hazardous situations. It is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
The four UK players are to appear in district court Oct. 28.