BY SAM SPOKONY | Two elite college football players, both expected to enter the N.F.L. draft in May, are wanted for questioning after a brutal attack in a Hudson Square nightclub early on April 11, police said.
Police say Victor Hampton and Kelcy Quarles, both 22 and teammates on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, were involved in the assault that left a 28-year-old man with severe injuries that required four hours of facial surgery at the uptown Metropolitan Hospital Center, police said.
The victim, a club promoter, said he was inside the Greenhouse club, at 150 Varick St., around 3 a.m. when he entered the V.I.P. section where Hampton and Quarles may have been sitting, according to witnesses. Someone, possibly one of the football players, then began arguing with the promoter and told him, “Get the [expletive] out my section,” after which the promoter was whacked over the head with a hookah pipe and then beaten to a pulp by several men.
The victim stumbled out of the club, jumped into a cab and went straight to the Uptown emergency room, where he immediately underwent the surgery, police said.
Hampton and Quarles were both in New York City at that time for an ESPN photo shoot related to the N.F.L. draft. Quarles has since claimed that was not involved with the incident, during in an interview with The State, a South Carolina newspaper, and Hampton did not respond to that newspaper’s request for comment.
And less than an hour after that April 11 incident took place, another University of South Carolina football player — who was in New York for the same photo shoot — was stabbed near the same nightclub, after a dispute that police said they believe is not connected to the first beating.
Chaz Sutton, 24 — who has graduated and reportedly hopes to go pro although he will likely not be in this year’s N.F.L. draft — told cops he was in Greenhouse around 3:45 a.m., during which time he got into a heated argument with an unidentified man.
According to the police report, Sutton said he left the club at that time in order avoid a fist fight with the other man, and began walking back to his room at the nearby Trump Soho hotel. The other man allegedly followed Sutton, and confronted him outside the hotel, at the corner of Spring and Varick Sts.
Sutton reportedly told cops that he tried to back away from the confrontation, but bumped into a street pole, after which the other man pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the left shoulder. The alleged attacker then fled north on Varick St., police said, and has attempts to track him down have so far been unsuccessful, although an investigation is ongoing.
According to the police report, Sutton also told cops he was unaware that he’d actually been stabbed until he later walked into the hotel lobby. He refused medical attention, police said.
Contrary to his reported statements to police, Sutton later claimed, in an interview with The State, that he was not even at the nightclub that day.
“I wasn’t even involved or there so I couldn’t really tell you,” Sutton told that newspaper. “I don’t know what is going on.”
Greenhouse has long been a nightclub notorious for its many incidents of assault — including an attack on a police detective last September — as well as multiple incidents of theft in recent years. Both community members and First Precinct police officers have said in the past that they believe the club should be shut down, but Greenhouse has so far avoided that kind of action.