MINOT, N.D. – Police arrested four Minot State University football players on misdemeanor drug charges and charged a fifth with attempted murder, saying a recent transfer to the school brawled with officers, knocking one out and leaving another with minor injuries.
The officers who were injured during the Friday night incident were responding to a report of suspected drug use in a vehicle parked off-campus in Minot, which is about 50 miles south of North Dakota's border with Canada, police said.
Four members of the team -- Kwajo Bansu, 22, Thomas Armstrong, 19, Grant Jansent, 18 and Leon Ladeaux, 21 -- were each charged with marijuana possession and ingesting a controlled substance, which are both misdemeanors. Jesse Ili, a 6-foot-tall, 220-pound linebacker for the Division II Beavers, faces three misdemeanor and three felony charges, including attempted murder, which is the most serious.
Police Capt. John Klug said Ili tried running away while officers were dealing with him, television station KXMC-TV reported Saturday (http://bit.ly/17byDmu ).
"They got him but that is where the fight ensued," he said.
Although no weapons were used, the fight got very violent, and Ili knocked one officer unconscious and left another with minor injuries before he was arrested, Klug said.
Both officers were treated at Trinity Health hospital and released. They were in good condition Saturday and recovering at home, Klug said. The decision to charge Ili with attempted murder was made in conjunction with the state's attorney, he said.
In a story published in March on the team's website, which no longer lists Ili's name on the team roster, Minot State said Ili played fullback last season for Division I Fresno State University and played linebacker the two prior seasons for Citrus College, where he earned All-Conference honors twice. Ili, whose hometown was listed as Tulare, Calif., was listed as a linebacker in the Minot State report.
Minot State released a statement Saturday saying the school has suspended the five players and is cooperating with the police investigation but would not comment further about the matter until more is known.
Police said they were searching for a sixth person and asked the public for help in identifying that person.
Minot State, which is in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, opens its season next Saturday against Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn.