Local News

Former Duke players plead guilty to gunplay on campus

Posted May 18, 2010 11:31 a.m. EDT
Updated May 18, 2010 6:44 p.m. EDT

— Three Duke University students pleaded guilty Tuesday to firing a gun on campus in January.

John Drew, Kyle Griswould and Brandon Putnam pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon on educational property and carrying a concealed weapon.

Each received a 45-day jail sentence, which was suspended to 12 months on probation. Each also was ordered to pay a $500 fine and perform 140 hours of community service, and they are barred from going on the Duke campus.

Duke University Police heard gunfire coming from a vehicle on Duke’s East Campus in the early hours of Jan. 17. The vehicle was located in the Blackwell Residence Hall parking lot and traced to one of the students, police said.

No one was injured in the incident.

All three were members of the Duke football team, and they were dismissed from the team after their arrests. They all subsequently withdrew from the university.

"It's a heavy price to lose because of stupid conduct, but this is stupid conduct. So, he's off the ball team. He's lost his scholarship," District Judge David Labarre said.

Bill Thomas, an attorney for one of the students, said they fired a gun into the air and never intended to hurt anyone. All three are from Georgia and will serve their probation there, he said.

Leslie Putnam maintained that her son wasn't involved in the gunfire, saying he was only trying to get a ride home after helping football recruits who were visiting campus. Brandon Putnam was on the dean's list at Duke before the incident, his mother said.

Butch Williams, an attorney for another student, said the three made a mistake and want to put the incident behind them and get on with their lives.