Arizona State University football player Loren Wade told investigators his gun "just went off" during a confrontation with former ASU player Brandon Falkner, according to court documents released Monday.
The shooting early Saturday outside Club CBNC in Scottsdale left Falkner, 25, dead with a gunshot to the head. Wade, 21, is being held without bond at Maricopa County’s Madison Street Jail in Phoenix on suspicion of first-degree murder.
The Maricopa County Superior Court documents provide the most detailed account of the shooting yet.
Wade, a running back from Los Angeles, was dismissed from the team. Falkner, a defensive back from Peoria, played for the Sun Devils from 1998 through 2001. He lived in Tempe.
The team conducted spring practice Monday, but coaches and players were barred from speaking to news media. The university made grief counselors available to players.
"There’s no handbook to follow. It’s very different. You’re learning things on the fly," said Mark Brand, ASU assistant athletic director of media relations. Falkner’s father, Bonnie Lee Falkner, an assistant supervisor in custodial services at ASU, declined comment through a university spokesman.
At least seven people saw the shooting outside the hiphop club, according to the documents.
Three passengers were with Falkner in his car. Wade’s girlfriend and another woman were outside the car, and at least two off-duty Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies were nearby.
Deputies began following Wade after they saw him speaking on his cell phone in an upset manner. One deputy drew her Taser stun gun as Wade approached a BMW, where his girlfriend had been speaking to Falkner, who was in the driver’s seat.
A passenger sitting behind Falkner in the car told investigators Wade demanded, "Who the (expletive) is you?" Wade then pulled a handgun from his waistband, cocked the gun, reached into the open window and fired.
A passenger in the front seat told investigators Wade first swung his fist toward the open widow, but struck his arm on the car’s door pillar.
The court document identified the front seat passenger as an ASU football player, but did not name any of the witnesses. Efforts by the Tribune to locate the witnesses Monday were unsuccessful. Neither the sheriff’s office nor the Scottsdale Police Department released the names of the deputies, who were working security at the club.
Wade’s girlfriend, whom police earlier identified as former ASU soccer player Haley van Blommestein, and another woman, told investigators they saw Wade reach into the car with the gun and heard a shot.
The car lurched forward and crashed into other car and a bus stop. Deputies said Wade immediately turned to van Blommestein and said, "I did this ‘cause of you and I (expletive) up."
Wade put the gun in a pants pocket and surrendered to deputies.
"It’s a small caliber black handgun and Mr. Wade has said he is the owner of said gun and that he purchased it from a private party a couple of years ago," Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark told the Tribune.
Wade later told investigators he went to the nightclub at Papago Plaza to pick up van Blommestein and that he was angry because she had lied to him, according to the court documents.
Wade said he held the gun in his right hand when he punched Falkner through the car window and the gun "just went off."
Scottsdale police declined to release their report on the incident, pending a possible grand jury indictment.
Peoria High School football coach Doug Clapp recalled Falkner as polite and respectful. He answered every question either "Yes, sir," or "No, sir."
"He was a kid who was one of our our captains, a good role model, very humble. He didn’t like the limelight, but was very friendly, bubbly," Clapp said.
Falkner, his older brother Jelani and their father were close, he said. The entire family was well known at the school and the mood on the Peoria High campus was somber Monday.
"It’s been kind of tough, because you like them all, but there are some you remember a lot better," Clapp said.
Funeral service details were unavailable.