PULLMAN – Washington State football coach Mike Leach on Thursday added some intrigue to the controversy surrounding the Wednesday arrest of starting free safety Shalom Luani, indicating that the player charged with second-degree assault may have in fact been the victim.
“The initial fact-finding thing sounds like he got jumped by three people, but we’ll wait until it unfolds,” Leach said after practice.
Luani was arrested early Wednesday morning after an altercation outside a Domino’s Pizza in Pullman that left one person with a broken nose and possibly another person injured. Police said that Luani became agitated when his pizza order took too long and that he went outside after an initial altercation when some patrons and the store manager tried to calm him down.
Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant said that alcohol was a factor, but that Luani did not appear to be especially inebriated. Luani was cooperative with the officers who arrived at the scene.
Luani currently appears to be suspended as he has not practiced with the Cougars since the incident. While the investigation appears to be ongoing, Leach declined to speculate as to whether or not the fact-finding would interfere with the safety’s availability for WSU’s Sept. 3 season opener against Eastern Washington.