Confrontation with UF players involved airsoft guns, bat, rocks, pan

Six Florida Gators face potential university discipline for their alleged roles in a confrontation in late May that involved airsoft guns, a baseball bat, rocks and a frying pan, according to a UF Police Department incident report.

According to UF Police, a resident of the Keys Residential Complex in Gainesville, Florida, called 911 on May 28 and reported seeing 10 people arguing and one possessing what appeared to be an assault rifle.

None of the UF football players face criminal charges, but six were referred to the university's Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Department for possible punishment, according to police records.

According to the incident report, four of the UF players initially told police that they weren't involved in the confrontation with Gainesville resident Devante' Zachery -- aka "Tay Bang" -- and his friends.

Gators receiver Kadarius Toney and defensive tackle Kyree Campbell face potential university discipline for "holding and pointing what appears to be an assault rifle [later determined to be airsoft rifles] at other individuals on campus." The police report says Toney's airsoft gun resembled an AR15 assault rifle.

Receivers Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells, tight end Kemore Gamble and quarterback Emory Jones face potential university discipline for allegedly lying to police about the incident.

"We were made aware of the incident when it occurred and immediately began following campus protocol," new Florida coach Dan Mullen said in a statement. "This has been an opportunity for us to educate our players about the dangers and negative perceptions that can occur when conflict arises, and how important honesty and good decision making is."

First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida, first reported details of the incident.

According to the report, three unknown males were standing outside of Building 6 at the housing complex, asking residents if they'd seen Cleveland. A group of Florida players gathered at the complex to confront the group of men, who left in their vehicles. The report said one of the players heard one of the men say, "We coming back strapped."

The players returned to a dorm room, and then fled out a back window when they saw the men return. The players said one of the men had a handgun and another had a baseball bat. They later confronted the men and someone from the other group allegedly yelled, "Come any closer, I'll spray you." The players fled when Gamble noticed a red laser being pointed at his chest.

The incident report said UF police officers didn't find any bullets at the scene but did locate a frying pan that was allegedly held by one of the UF players during the confrontation.

In an interview with UF police on June 15, Lewis told police that he had a "good relationship with 'Tay Bang' and other local males until fall of 2017. Lewis said it started out well when the football team was winning, but when they began losing, 'Tay Bang' would call them 'garbage' and would complain about losing money after he would bet on the football games. Lewis said he stopped associating with 'Tay Bang.'"

The Gators went 4-7 last season, and coach Jim McElwain was fired after seven games. Mullen, the former Mississippi State coach, was hired to replace him.

Zachery, 21, told police he didn't have a gun at the fight. UF police ordered him to stay off university property for three years.

UF police said Zachery posted the following message on Facebook after his interview with officers: "Damn the University of Florida got some b---- a-- football players."

Cleveland, a junior from Houston, was Florida's leading receiver with 22 catches for 410 yards with two touchdowns last season. Toney, a sophomore from Mobile, Alabama, had 15 catches for 152 yards and also rushed for 120 yards with one touchdown.

Campbell, a sophomore from Woodbridge, Virginia, had 12 tackles and one sack in nine games.

Jones, from Franklin, Georgia, was ranked the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback and No. 59 player overall in the 2018 ESPN 300. He signed with the Gators in December and enrolled early to compete for the starting job.

Wells, a junior from Jacksonville, was one of nine Florida players suspended for the entire 2017 season after they were charged with fraudulent use of a credit card and identity theft. Each of them made one charge with a stolen credit card number, ranging in value from $500 to $2,000, authorities said. In October, state attorney Bill Cervone announced that seven of the players were entering a pretrial intervention program that could result in dismissal of the criminal charges.

Wells, running back Jordan Scarlett and linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller were allowed to rejoin the team in January.

According to the UF police report involving the May incident, "Wells was not cooperate [sic] and was untruthful to a UFPD Detective during an investigation.

"If at least one of them would have cooperated with police, the incident could have been resolved faster and not put police officers and other individuals living on campus in danger," the incident report said.

On Tuesday, Florida freshman Justin Watkins was arrested on four charges, including two felonies, after his second arrest in the past three months. According to Alachua County inmate records, Watkins was booked on third-degree felony charges of kidnapping/false imprisonment and domestic battery by strangulation. He also was charged with two first-degree misdemeanor battery counts.

Watkins, a four-star prospect from East Ridge High School in Clermont, Florida, also was arrested in May for allegedly kicking a woman's car and breaking her cellphone during an argument.

Mullen suspended him from all team activities. He was the No. 28 overall player in the 2018 ESPN 300.