San Diego Chargers LB Steve Foley shot by off-duty police officer
By BERNIE WILSON
AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO- Chargers linebacker Steve Foley was shot near his upscale suburban house by an off-duty policeman early Sunday morning in his second run-in with police in 4 1/2 months. Coach Marty Schottenheimer said the wounds were not life-threatening.
"All we're worried about is that he's OK," Schottenheimer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Foley's agent, David Levine, told the AP that Foley was shot three times and had surgery for wounds to his leg, arm and chest.
"He's out of danger at this point," Levine said.
The Chargers will open the season at Oakland on Sept. 11, the day Foley turns 31.
Sheriff's officials said the early morning shooting occurred after the off-duty Coronado police officer followed a suspected drunken driver weaving in and out of freeway traffic at speeds up to 90 mph. Authorities said the driver nearly collided with several other vehicles.
Foley stopped three times, sheriff's officials said. During one of the stops, Lisa Maree Gaut, a passenger in the vehicle, yelled at the officer, authorities said.
The shooting occurred after Foley got out of the vehicle near his home and began walking toward the officer, sheriff's officials said. Gaut got behind the wheel and drove next to Foley in the direction of the officer, the officials said.
The officer identified himself, authorities said, and warned Foley he was armed. He fired a warning shot, at which point Gaut steered the car at the officer, sheriff's officials said.
"The officer fired two rounds at the vehicle," sheriff's Lt. Dennis Brugos said. "The male then came at the officer and put his right hand by his waistband and the officer fired at him."
Paramedics were called to the neighborhood in Poway, northeast of San Diego, at 3:47 a.m. and transferred a trauma victim to Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Sheriff's officials wouldn't say how many times Foley was shot or what, if any, charges will be filed against him.
Coronado police also declined to give any information about the off-duty officer. Coronado, a wealthy peninsular enclave, is across the bay from downtown San Diego. Sheriff's officials said the off-duty officer first encountered Foley on a freeway in northern San Diego.
Gaut, 25, was booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility on suspicion of DUI and assault with a deadly weapon. Bail was set at $17,500. She was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
Meanwhile, authorities towed a Cutlass Supreme with a purple interior late Sunday afternoon from the neighborhood of spacious ranch homes, large lots and towering eucalyptus trees.
Neighbor Kent Goodman said the car belonged to Foley. According to the Chargers' media guide, Foley and his father restored a 1971 Cutlass Supreme.
Another neighbor, Rick Jennings, said he was awake at 3:40 a.m. when he heard yelling outside. He went outside after hearing two loud pops he thought were firecrackers.
"I heard a female scream, 'Let it go! No, no, no!' And then four more shots. I heard more screaming and then two more shots and in seconds the first marked officer showed up."
Goodman, who lives three doors from Foley, said he awoke to what he thought was the revving of Foley's car.
"It sounded like his car backfired a couple times. A few seconds passed and I heard more revving and then rapid shots. They were in rapid succession," Goodman said.
Foley had lived at the Poway home for about 1 1/2 years.
Foley, who played at Northeast Louisiana from 1994-97, has played eight seasons in the NFL, for Cincinnati, Houston and San Diego. He signed with the Chargers in March 2004. That year he set career highs with 10 sacks and five forced fumbles.
Foley was arrested April 21 on charges of resisting arrest after police said he scuffled with officers. He also was booked on charges of battery on a police officer and public drunkenness.
The district attorney's office said recently it was not pursuing charges against Foley in that incident.
The Chargers did not practice on Sunday.
Associated Press Writers Christina Almeida in Los Angeles and Elliot Spagat in San Diego, and freelance writer Sandy Burgin in San Diego, contributed to this report.