NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt has suspended 19-year-old safety Andre Simmons after the sophomore was charged with two felonies after allegedly trying to rob a fellow student in his dorm room.
Simmons is being held on $100,000 bond after being charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Vanderbilt suspended him from the team pending an investigation.
Zachary Abelman says in an arrest affidavit that he was in his room Tuesday when two men came to his door wanting money from his safe. He says he gave them approximately $5,000 before a fight started where he was hit in the head with a handgun. One man fled, while Abelman says the other stayed to keep him in the room before leaving.
By phone Wednesday Abelman said he had "no comment" about the incident.
"We don't have very much student on student crime here at Vanderbilt so it is unusual," said Vanderbilt Assistant Police Chief Honey Pike.
Abelman chased down Simmons to the Terrace Place Garage where campus police arrested him Tuesday.
The team released this statement:
Sophomore safety Andre Simmons has been suspended indefinitely from the Vanderbilt football squad pending investigation of an on-campus incident Tuesday.
"We were informed that an incident had occurred on campus involving a number of people, including a member of the football team. While this is an on-going investigation, it is our understanding that a member of our football team may have been involved in behavior that is unacceptable. Therefore, we have suspended Andre Simmons until the completion and determination of the investigation," Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor of Student Athletics David Williams II said.
"Obviously it's not something you want to have happen, but I think it'll be ok," said student and fan David Benami.
Vanderbilt is 5-5 for the season. A win this Saturday against Tennessee could make the Commodores eligible for a bowl game.
Wednesday students, still learning of what happened, said they hope this doesn't become too big of distraction before the team heads to Knoxville this weekend.
"Definitely can, but hopefully it won't. I mean hopefully coach Franklin will be able to rally the team and put this distraction aside and we'll get to victory," said student and fan Adam Ades.
Simmons isn't a starter, and only played one game early on this season. He will appear in court on Monday.
Investigators have issued a arrest warrant for Simmons' accomplice, Danny Diaz, 19. Diaz is not a Vanderbilt student.
Anyone with information on Diaz's location is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 74-Crime.