Josh Shaw’s heroic story was a lie.
The USC senior cornerback admitted as much Wednesday in a statement released by the university, which also said Shaw had retained a lawyer.
Earlier Wednesday, the LAPD told Rivals.com site TrojansSports.com that Shaw was a subject in an ongoing investigation into a burglary at an apartment complex.
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."
Shaw suffered two ankle sprains during the incident and was out indefinitely. Coach Steve Sarkisian said Shaw was also suspended indefinitely. Shaw is a team captain.
"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," Sarkisian said in a statement. "He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.
"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized. Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."
Shaw has not spoken to the media or been seen around the football facility since the heroic story surfaced. He did release a statement through his newly retained criminal lawyer, Donald Etra:
“On Saturday, August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong to not tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part.
“My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and especially Coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful.”
USC initially reported the story Monday, saying Shaw was at a family function in Palmdale, Calif., when he was standing on a second floor balcony, looked down and saw his 7-year-old nephew struggling in the pool. The account said he jump from the balcony, landed on the concrete, got into the pool, saved the drowning boy and then got himself out of the pool. The story went viral almost immediately and Shaw was hailed as a hero.
However, things started to turn quickly when media started to ask questions about the story and Sarkisian said in his Tuesday press conference that the school had received conflicting reports regarding Shaw’s story. On Wednesday, Sarkisian said the vetting of the story is in the hands of the authorities.
Mere hours later, Shaw issued his mea culpa through USC and his lawyer.
For more USC news, visit TrojanSports.com.
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