While it didn't initially strike me as quite as jarring as the news of Will Grier's year-long suspension, Florida announcing that Deiondre Porter is suspended indefinitely in a brisk tweet wasn't the best news that could have broken this Wednesday.
Deiondre Porter has been suspended from the team indefinitely.— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) October 14, 2015
Given the details that emerged about the charges facing Porter — who allegedly fired a gun at a wall near his pregnant girlfriend, after previously holding the gun to her head — after that tweet, though, it's likely Porter's days as a Gator are over.
And jarring isn't the half of it.
Porter's name appears in Alachua County Jail records, indicating that he was booked at 11:19 a.m. on Wednesday.
What Porter did to get sent to the hoosegow (and suspended) only trickled out after that tweet — his name didn't show up in any online Gainesville Police Department records at the time of first publication of this post, and the only University Police Department crime log entry from the last two days that stuck was a DUI that occurred Tuesday at 1:36 a.m., a crime which would seem likely to have leaked in the nearly 36 hours since, especially given Florida's mandatory suspension rules for DUI charges.
Unfortunately, what Porter allegedly did is staggering in its malice. Adam Silverstein of Only Gators and Gainesville Sun reporter Cindy Swirko were first to the news:
Acc. to Alachua Co. Court, #Gators DB Deiondre Porter facing 5 charges: agg. battery, assault w/ deadly weapon, firing weapon, prop damage.— Only Gators .com (@onlygators) October 14, 2015
UF football player Deiondre Porter charged w/ ag battery, ag assault w/ weapon, firing into building & criminal mischief, court records show— Cindy (@cindyswirko) October 14, 2015
Indeed, Alachua County court records show that Porter has been charged with aggravated battery, firing a "deadly missile" into a vehicle or dwelling, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, and criminal mischief for property damage. The first two charges are second-degree felonies, the aggravated assault charges are third-degree felonies, and the criminal mischief charge is a second-degree misdemeanor.
The Gainesville Police Department released the arrest report from Porter's incident early Wednesday afternoon. I'm choosing not to embed it here because it contains contact information for Porter, but you can read it at the link.
With minor edits for grammar, this is what is written in the narrative portion of the report, which lists the date for the incident as 7:15 a.m. on September 29, 2015.
On the above date at approximately 0215 hours, the defendant confronted the victim about her being involved with one of his teammates. The defendant began yelling at the victim in her apartment, demanding that she tell him the truth about being with his teammate. The victim then retrated to her bedroom to avoid the confrontation. The defendant followed her into her bedroom, produced a handgun, and placed it to her head. The defendant continued to demand that the victim tell him the truth. The victim made numerous attempts to contact the teammate to prove she had not been intimate with him by text message as well as calling, but got no answer to either. The defendant told the victim that they would try again in the morning, and eventually went to sleep in the victim's bedroom. The victim slept in the living room. At approximately 0715 hours, later that same day, the defendant began yelling at the victim again about her being involved with his teammates. The victim continued to deny having any type of intimate relationship with the teammate. According to the victim, the defendant became enraged, and started pacing back and forth in the living room. During this time the victim was standing next to her front door. The victim stated that, all of a sudden, she saw the defendant raise his arm and fire the handgun in her direction. The victim said the bullet struck the wall where she was leaning. Shortly after, the defendant left the victim's residence.
The victim and defendant have been involved in a dating relationship since 2013 and the victim is ten weeks pregnant. The defendant was aware that the victim was pregnant prior to this incident.
During a search of the victim's apartment, a bullet hole was found in the wall near the front door. A .45 caliber shell casing was also found under a chair in the living room in the area where the victim said the defendant had been standing when he fired the gun in her direction.
On 9-30-15 (the following day), the defendant was contacted in a vehicle with another individual by GPD patrol officers. The defendant was the passenger. The driver, a friend of the defendant, was subsequently found to be in possession of a .45 caliber handgun.
The field for the first charge against Porter is blacked out, with the note "Charge amended by (State's Attorney's Office) to Agg Assault, Weapons Offense, Criminal Mischief." The field for the second charge against Porter reads "Aggravated Assault (Domestic)."
At a GPD press conference that began at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, public information officer Ben Tobias explained the two-week delay between the incident and Porter with the most logical detail: The alleged victim waited to come forward.
GPD spokesman Ben Tobias said the incident occurred on Sept. 29 but was not reported until Oct. 12. "She was honestly terrified."— The Alligator (@TheAlligator) October 14, 2015
Additionally, the traffic stop involving Porter was an unrelated traffic stop on suspicion of drug possession.
Porter was passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a drug traffic stop. A .45 caliber gun was found in the car.— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) October 14, 2015
The firearm case seems to match a pistol found with player when coincidentally pulled over the day after incident in an unrelated case.— The Alligator (@TheAlligator) October 14, 2015
As first reported by Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports, and later released by GPD, the driver in that stop was parked at a Gainesville business after its hours of operation, and the responding officer noted a strong odor of marijuana originating from the vehicle. The driver was arrested on charges of possession of a concealed weapon, display of a weapon during a felony (in this case, possession of a concealed weapon), and possession of a controlled substance. About 30 grams of marijuana were found in the glove compartment of the car in that stop, which the driver claimed was his and for his personal use.
Porter told the arresting officer in that case that the driver had picked him up and given him a ride, and that he had no idea about the marijuana, but could smell it. He was released on his own recognizance.
I'm choosing not to name that driver or embed that police report in this post, as it is largely unrelated to Porter's alleged actions on September 29.
We'll probably learn more about what Florida knew and when as this story develops. Jim McElwain, in his weekly appearance on an SEC teleconference, said that Porter was "no longer with the football team."
McElwain on SEC teleconference says Porter is "no longer with the football team" for a "choice." Says "you'll read about it soon enough."— Only Gators .com (@onlygators) October 14, 2015
Porter had seen very limited action on defense this fall, as he's served largely as a backup to Vernon Hargreaves III, Jalen Tabor, and Quincy Wilson at cornerback. But he'd been a contributor on special teams, to the degree that he ended up in a gaudy sombrero McElwain is giving out to his best special teamers.
Deiondre Porter's sombrero look today. pic.twitter.com/DHiOT0lxb2— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) September 26, 2015
Notably, Porter did not see the field in Florida's two games since September 29, the date of the alleged incident. Whether that was related to the incident or pure coincidence remains to be seen, though I would find it profoundly strange if Florida somehow did know and did nothing about it.
I can't imagine Porter remaining with — or returning to, depending on your perspective — Florida if this isn't just some utterly bizarre misunderstanding; any of the four felony charges, all related to doing something dumb with a gun, should be more than enough to get Porter booted, and the context of firing a gun at a pregnant long-term girlfriend makes the alleged crimes beyond loathsome.