KNOXVILLE � Three University of Tennessee freshman football players this morning face attempted armed robbery charges.
Janzen Jackson, Michael Edwards and Nu'Keese Richardson, all 18, were charged this morning after an armed robbery attempt at a Pilot station on Cumberland Avenue, according to the Knoxville Police Department.
Each player faces three counts of attempted armed robbery.
UT athletic director Mike Hamilton released a statement this morning about the episode.
"At this time we are currently evaluating the circumstances surrounding an incident involving Mike Edwards, Janzen Jackson and Nu'Keese Richardson," Hamilton said. "Any decisions or comments regarding their status will not be made until the evaluations are complete."
Both Richardson and Jackson are coming off a week in which they faced discipline from coach Lane Kiffin, the former for missing a practice and the latter for a violation of team rules.
Kiffin has touted the discipline in his program and a clean arrest record as recently as Wednesday's SEC teleconference.
According to KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk, the incident began at 1:43 a.m. at the Pilot station, 2218 Cumberland Ave., when officers were alerted to an armed robbery in progress.
When officers arrived, they found Corey B. Zickefoose, 20, Benjamin J. Everett, 19, and Corey M. Smith, 18, claiming to have been accosted by two men wearing black hoodies.
The trio told officers they were sitting in a 1998 Hyundai Elantra at the convenience store while a friend was inside the business. As they waited for their friend, a man opened the driver's door, brandished a handgun and said, "Give me everything you have," DeBusk said.
A second man, also wearing a black hoodie, then opened the passenger door of the Hyundai and reiterated to the trio, "Give us everything you've got," DeBusk said.
The victims said they showed the two men their empty wallets and said they had no money. A third man then approached the car and told the other two men in hoodies, "We've got to go," DeBusk said.
The three men got into a 2010 Toyota Prius driven by a woman and fled the area.
Officers stopped the car on Neyland Drive near Leinard Lane after it had been seen near Gibbs Halls.
Police found Edwards, Richardson and Jackson in the car, which was driven by Marie Montmarquet, 22, DeBusk said.
A search of the Prius revealed a air-powered pellet pistol under the rear seat. Two black hoodies were seen in plain view in the back seat, DeBusk said.
In the car's glove box police found a marijuana grinder. Police found a clear plastic bag of suspected marijuana in Montmarquet's jacket pocket, DeBusk said.
Montmarquet told police the pot grinder and pot found in her jacket belonged to her, DeBusk said. She was charged with simple possession of pot and possession of drug parapharnalia.
The suspects were taken to the Pilot station where the three victims identified Edwards and Richardson as the two men in black hoodies who demanded their wallets.