*updated May 18, 2012 at 1:13 p.m.
by Al Stover and Jane Martin
for the Easterner
Chandler Gayton, a safety on the Eastern football team, was arrested after reportedly brandishing a gun near police May 11.
According to Cheney Police Chief John Hensley, officers Dave Bailey and Chris Oakes were responding to a call from the bouncer at Eagles Pub about a bar fight and a patron with a gun.
When they arrived, they were told the patron had already left. Video footage on the traffic camera on first street looking west showed the officers spotting a man about to urinate on a wall at approximately 1:56 a.m.
“The officers told him to stop. He turned and pulled a gun out of his pocket … both hands were on the gun in what we call the ‘low ready position,’” Hensley said. He added that officers shouted “drop the gun” several times before the man dropped it a few seconds later.
Video footage also showed that when the suspect turned in response to officers’ initial shouts to stop what he was doing, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handgun. He then took three steps forward, squared off and held the gun at a downward angle with both hands.
Eight seconds passed from the time officers first got the man’s attention to when he dropped the gun and got down on the ground, according to the footage. He was handcuffed and taken into custody.
Gayton was booked on charges of weapons prohibited in certain places and unlawful display of weapon.
Head coach Beau Baldwin, who had just returned from vacation in Los Angeles, held a press conference at Roos Field at 4 p.m., where he officially announced that Gayton had been dismissed from the EWU football program.
“Every situation is unique, but this is definitely one that we felt warranted this type of swift action,” Baldwin said. “It’s one of those things that is unfortunate, but we felt as a university, as a football program, this was the right thing to do.”
In the EWU Student Athlete Manual, it says that an athlete is responsible for informing the university about an arrest off-campus. After the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities is notified of the arrest, the university may send a letter to the student requiring them to make an appointment for an interview with the OSRR. The university also reserves the right to initiate concurrent disciplinary action against the student.
According to Baldwin, Gayton was a good teammate, competitive and did all of the right things in the classroom.
“[I was] just stunned; it’s hard to hear that,” Baldwin said. “I’m going to be surprised to hear any of this stuff from any of the guys in the locker room. I think so much of them, but when these things happen, you have deal with them and then move on.”
Prior to his arrest, Gayton had just finished spring football practice. He had six tackles and one interception during the spring scrimmages.
Baldwin has communicated with Gayton and had a conference call with the police department. He plans on having a meeting with the rest of the team May 14.
According to Director of Media Relations Dave Meany, Gayton is still enrolled at the university as a student, however that standing with the university will be under review.