(Yahoo!) USC coach Steve Sarkisian told media Wednesday that the program was in a “holding pattern” while the validity of Josh Shaw’s story about jumping from a second-story balcony to save his drowning nephew is handled by campus authorities.
According to Rivals.com site TrojansSports.com, the LAPD confirmed Shaw is named in an investigation regarding a break-in at an apartment building on Saturday night.
L.A. Police spokeswoman Liliana Preciado said two Los Angeles police officers responded to a complaint Saturday evening from a resident at the Orsini Apartments alleging that a female in the neighboring room was screaming for help.
Preciado said the officers arrived at Orsini Building One, located on the west side of North Figueroa Street and the home to many USC students, at around 10:40 p.m. She said LAPD got no response after announcing itself and knocking on the door of the third-story unit where the screams reportedly came from.
Witnesses described the suspect: "They saw a black male with dreadlocks leave the apartment from the balcony," Preciado said the police report reads.
Preciado said the officers then broke the door open and searched inside, but no one was there. A female resident who lives in the unit surfaced in the hallway shortly thereafter. She identified Josh Shaw as her boyfriend and said he matched the description of the man witnesses said jumped off the balcony. The third story is about 20 feet high from the ground.
"The person that lives in that apartment returned and talked about her roommates and her boyfriend, who she identified as Josh Shaw," Preciado said. "The victim's boyfriend had a similar description to the suspect seen leaving the apartment -- male, black, with dreadlocks. She said, That's my boyfriend."
Preciado said nothing had been taken but that a window had been pried open. The investigation is ongoing.
Sarkisian said the vetting of Shaw story had been referred to campus authorities after several phone calls came in refuting Shaw's story that he jumped from a second-story window to save his drowning nephew. Shaw suffered two major ankle sprains in the incident.
"In this day in age of college football and head coaches' responsibilities, I'd be foolish not to push everything up the ladder," Sarkisian said. "I think we learned that a couple years ago with a couple other high profile coaches, so everything I've ever done when things come across my desk is to push them to campus authorities and let them do their due diligence.
"When things come back to me, then I can comment on them. Until then, I don't really have much to say on it."
According to linebacker Hayes Pullard, no one had seen or talked to Shaw since the story surfaced on the USC Ripsit Blog website on Monday.
"Him and Sark had a meeting together and we haven't seen him since that day.” Pullard said of Shaw. “We're just leaving it to Coach Sark, he's the head man and that's who we answer to."
On Monday, USC released a heroic story of Shaw, who was on a second floor balcony during a family party, spotting his 7-year-old nephew who couldn’t swim struggling in the pool. Shaw, with no regard for personal safety, jumped from the balcony, landed on the concrete below, sprained both ankles and managed to roll into the pool to save the drowning boy.
Shaw's sister and the mother of the 7-year-old boy, Asia Shaw, told USA Today she was not at the family party in question and did not know the specifics of what happened. She did confirm her son could not swim.
"The one who was supposed to be watching him turned away for a second," she told USA Today. "And Josh, who is on the balcony, saw the incident and reacted."
Shaw’s injured ankles have him sidelined indefinitely and Sarkisian said there’s no other change in Shaw’s status. He was named a team captain prior to his heroics.
Sarkisian said he did not know how long the investigation would take, but said that it’s not taking away from the team’s preparation for Saturday’s game against Fresno State.
"We haven't spent much time on it at all quite honestly," Sarkisian said. "We've put in too much work over the last nine months to let an hour or two of social media and Internet reports distract us from being a great football team. If it does, then that's not a great sign for us moving forward. We have to be strong enough to handle adversity whether it's on the football field or off the field and continue to hang together and be together."
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