Victim says he was 'shocked' to learn suspects are Vols

Kiffin on football players' arrests: To paraphrase, "No comment."

Victims of attempted armed robbery speak about the experience

Screenshot of WVLT VolunteerTV exclusive video of the arrests early Thursday morning. Three University of Tennessee football players and a woman were jailed on charges of attempted armed robbery.

WVLT Video Screenshot

Screenshot of WVLT VolunteerTV exclusive video of the arrests early Thursday morning. Three University of Tennessee football players and a woman were jailed on charges of attempted armed robbery.

Nu'Keese flips for the Vols

Freshman Nu'Keese Richardson shows off his mad ...

Cory Zickefoose thought the gunman looked too nervous to shoot him early Thursday during an armed robbery attempt at the Pilot station on Cumberland Avenue.

"I could just tell he wasn't going to shoot me," said Zickefoose, 20. "He didn't have too much authority."

The Maryville man had no idea then that he was looking at a man police say was a football player for the University of Tennessee.

Zickefoose said he was waiting in the front seat of his Hyundai Elantra for a friend to purchase cigarettes from the convenience store. Corey Smith, 18, and Benjamin Everett, 19, also of Maryville, were in the backseat.

Four people drove up in a 2010 powder blue Toyota Prius as Zickefoose and his friends waited in the car at about 1:43 a.m., Zickefoose said.

Two men wearing hooded sweatshirts, one holding a handgun, opened first the driver's door and then the passenger's door, telling them, "Give us everything you got," Smith said.

"I said, 'Sorry, we don't have anything to give you,' " Zickefoose said. "We're broke."

"We ain't got nothing but a cheeseburger," Smith added, "but they didn't take that."

Zickefoose said he thinks a gas station employee who was walking around the premises might have startled the two men, as well as a third man who had emerged from the Prius. The three men got into the Toyota driven by a woman and fled the area, Zickefoose said.

"It happened pretty quick. It happened maybe in 20 seconds, if that," Zickefoose said. "We pulled into the gas station, and bam! - it just happened."

Zickefoose said he glanced at the Prius during the attempted heist and noted the woman seemed amused.

"She was smiling, with a big grin on her face," he said.

Zickefoose said he was "pretty shocked" to learn that three University of Tennessee football players were arrested on charges of attempted robbery. He assumes they wanted "a little bit of pocket money."

"It really blows my mind," he said. "Why they would even do that with a career like that, you know?"

Chloe White Kennedy may be reached at 865-342-6341.

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Comments » 39

AceVentura writes:

This is what I believe happened. They were in need of weed and didn't have money. So as the "victims" aka drug dealers pulled up they got a bright idea to use a bb gun to scare them. And to get them back the "victims" called the law. It doesn't seem logical for 2guys to try to rob a car with 3 guys in it, well one was in the store.

mahabrando writes:

in response to orangeluvr:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Dang right there!

99PairsOfJortsOnTheWall writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Stupid is as stupid does.

Back to Ole Miss.

chbradshaw writes:

None of this sorry tale passes the smell test. There is something else about this that has not been made public.

If the players missed curfew they should be kicked off the team immediately for that.

Ringside writes:

you can lead a horse to water.....

mahabrando writes:

Any more team infractions by anyone on the team and you're immediately kicked off team. That should be Kiffin's zero tolerance to this garbage.

RomanRoomRegular writes:

pitiful display. another case of a big coat and little hat.

VolFaninCT writes:

I hate the fact that he is wearing team issued gear in that photo screenshot.

OakRidgerX writes:

How many more does UT have? How are the campus administrators keeping other students safe while allowing gang-banging thugs onto campus with full scholarships? 42 states allow juvenile records with violent and repeat/offender crimes to be opened by institutions such as UT, but TN doesn't. No wonder all the thugs have a free ride to TN and quality athletes/students go elsewhere away from this thug mentality institution. What a shame that someone may be killed by a doctor from UT and criminal records are checked for them, but having a criminal act committed against you by a VOL nobody in administration cares.

I would love to hear the people explain this away as a parent problem or they have rights; they have an obligation to follow the laws, and since they didn't get that before becoming 18 Knoxville residents may die. What a joke to think 18 is the age of accountability for someone else's life.

smokymtman writes:

"It really blows my mind," he said. "Why they would even do that with a career like that, you know?"

Because they are...can you spell DUMB and DUMBER?
With the mentality they exhibit, they should not even be in college! Just plain dummkopfs!!!!!

smkymtnhiker writes:

So over it. It is an embarrassment to the team and this State. It is time they take responsibility for their actions, finish their education somewhere else and move on with their lives. The graveyards are full of folks who thought the world could not go on without them.

SavTnVol writes:

O-TAY

Vol86 writes:

The girl was most likely the mastermind of the operation. Had to be.

hueypilot writes:

I don't like the tone of some of these comments. Portraying as victims, the three guys privileged enough to attend a major university on a scholarship and play a kid's game on Saturday before a hundred thousand adoring fans will not ever pass a smell test. Some folks here seem like they want to head in the same direction as the incident where the poor Nashville cop who dared to stop the late Steve McNair for driving while drunk, and the cop gets his career ruined. At some point, these kids need to account for their actions. Right now, while they are legally adults, but mentally children, would be a good time to give them a swift and meaningful dose of accountablity. Clearly they have gotten a pass, discipline-wise, in their early years, because they could play ball. That needs to stop right now. I say see ya, including Jackson. He wasn't coming out of the market as some have said here, but out of the car, so he probably saw the other two rocket scientist get out with the pop gun. He had a chance to run away, or try and stop them right then and there and did not do it. Maybe they can catch on at Mississipi Valley State, or Murray. They will either learn from this, or they will become Tony Robinson. It's up to them, but coddling them because they can run a 4.4 40 does a great disservice to both them and the University that gave them a chance to get out of Pahokee.

roloyo writes:

in response to chbradshaw:

None of this sorry tale passes the smell test. There is something else about this that has not been made public.

If the players missed curfew they should be kicked off the team immediately for that.

I'm still trying to figure out what 3 guys with no money and a cheeseburger, were doin' at the Pilot at 2 a.m. The whole story is shaky, at best. Me thinks there was more goin' down, than just gettin' cigarettes. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck........

CoverOrange writes:

in response to OakRidgerX:

How many more does UT have? How are the campus administrators keeping other students safe while allowing gang-banging thugs onto campus with full scholarships? 42 states allow juvenile records with violent and repeat/offender crimes to be opened by institutions such as UT, but TN doesn't. No wonder all the thugs have a free ride to TN and quality athletes/students go elsewhere away from this thug mentality institution. What a shame that someone may be killed by a doctor from UT and criminal records are checked for them, but having a criminal act committed against you by a VOL nobody in administration cares.

I would love to hear the people explain this away as a parent problem or they have rights; they have an obligation to follow the laws, and since they didn't get that before becoming 18 Knoxville residents may die. What a joke to think 18 is the age of accountability for someone else's life.

Whut? That's almost incoherent babbling.

Why is it the responsibility of campus administrators to keep students safe? Crime happens everywhere, students and non-students alike. Why should students be especially protected?

How do you know any of these guys have prior arrests?

How do you know someone is GOING to be a violent offender until they do it? Would you institute a test for all teenagers the day of their 18th birthday? "Do you think harming others is right or wrong?" Pass-you're now 18/fail-repeat 17?

You sully the name of my hometown.

JCJ1986 writes:

How come whenever it's some young black guys that commit a crime, it's automatically, "these THUGS!" It's that THUG mentality, those THUGS!" I never once saw Colquitt or Lee Smith or Jim Bob Cooter called that.

beef4davols writes:

in response to JCJ1986:

How come whenever it's some young black guys that commit a crime, it's automatically, "these THUGS!" It's that THUG mentality, those THUGS!" I never once saw Colquitt or Lee Smith or Jim Bob Cooter called that.

No, they were just called drunks!!

ethanfrome writes:

in response to AceVentura:

This is what I believe happened. They were in need of weed and didn't have money. So as the "victims" aka drug dealers pulled up they got a bright idea to use a bb gun to scare them. And to get them back the "victims" called the law. It doesn't seem logical for 2guys to try to rob a car with 3 guys in it, well one was in the store.

Stay on the pet detective path dude, please.

HoraceMorris writes:

I don't know which group is the dumber of the two - the players or the "victims".

Rumor has it the "victims" have a crime record of their own and may not have been random choices in this.

intern1#248421 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Whut? That's almost incoherent babbling.

Why is it the responsibility of campus administrators to keep students safe? Crime happens everywhere, students and non-students alike. Why should students be especially protected?

How do you know any of these guys have prior arrests?

How do you know someone is GOING to be a violent offender until they do it? Would you institute a test for all teenagers the day of their 18th birthday? "Do you think harming others is right or wrong?" Pass-you're now 18/fail-repeat 17?

You sully the name of my hometown.

It is the responsibility of the campus administration to keep the campus safe. I can't believe you asked "why students should be specially protected?" They pay to get an education, they essentially have to be there to do that, the campus administration should provide as safe of an atmosphere as possible for that to happen in. Same reason why high schools have to be safe. Or are you saying your children shouldn't be protected when they're there either?

Also to the people who think the victims aren't victims, one guy was in the gas station while the other 3 victims were in the car. Why would they do that if they were doing a drug deal? That doesn't make any sense. They're college students at a gas station at 2am, why is that so unusual and hard to believe?

d_ray writes:

Do universities and colleges do a criminal background check before signing players? If not, they should. I would like to know how many times these three players have been in trouble with the law. Also, if these guys who were being robbed had known these were star football players for UT, would they have identified them?

carsonce writes:

in response to roloyo:

I'm still trying to figure out what 3 guys with no money and a cheeseburger, were doin' at the Pilot at 2 a.m. The whole story is shaky, at best. Me thinks there was more goin' down, than just gettin' cigarettes. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck........

College students don't follow a typical adult's schedule. They can stay up later because they are young and can schedule classes to where they don't have to wake up until noon. I don't see anything surprising about a college student wanting a cheesburger and a pack of smokes late at night. That is typical college student behavior.

VolQB writes:

They should get extra time for excessive stupidity. On media issues how ridiculous to hear the media question why 19 year olds are hanging-out at 2am on a school night. That's what the majority of college students do.

The other is the media mocking Kiff. The media says he should have kept his mouth closed. So, their opinion is do not share positive info because tomorrow is a new day? If its a bad day we will cut you to shreads.

19 year old make a ton of bad decisions and stay up until 4am sometimes on school nights. I have one. I yell how bad that is but i don't mention my morning hours at UT.

Go VOLS.

thevoice writes:

in response to AceVentura:

This is what I believe happened. They were in need of weed and didn't have money. So as the "victims" aka drug dealers pulled up they got a bright idea to use a bb gun to scare them. And to get them back the "victims" called the law. It doesn't seem logical for 2guys to try to rob a car with 3 guys in it, well one was in the store.

I have a feeling they were really looking for a cheeseburger. The victim's cheeseburger was either not the right brand or too heavy on the onions.

AFVol423 writes:

in response to OakRidgerX:

How many more does UT have? How are the campus administrators keeping other students safe while allowing gang-banging thugs onto campus with full scholarships? 42 states allow juvenile records with violent and repeat/offender crimes to be opened by institutions such as UT, but TN doesn't. No wonder all the thugs have a free ride to TN and quality athletes/students go elsewhere away from this thug mentality institution. What a shame that someone may be killed by a doctor from UT and criminal records are checked for them, but having a criminal act committed against you by a VOL nobody in administration cares.

I would love to hear the people explain this away as a parent problem or they have rights; they have an obligation to follow the laws, and since they didn't get that before becoming 18 Knoxville residents may die. What a joke to think 18 is the age of accountability for someone else's life.

Am I missing something? I haven't heard anyone say they don't care. I have only heard that they are gathering information in order to make the right decision. Seems like the right thing to me.

roloyo writes:

in response to carsonce:

College students don't follow a typical adult's schedule. They can stay up later because they are young and can schedule classes to where they don't have to wake up until noon. I don't see anything surprising about a college student wanting a cheesburger and a pack of smokes late at night. That is typical college student behavior.

I haven't read anything saying they were college students. Could've missed it though.

RockyTopGal writes:

in response to hueypilot:

I don't like the tone of some of these comments. Portraying as victims, the three guys privileged enough to attend a major university on a scholarship and play a kid's game on Saturday before a hundred thousand adoring fans will not ever pass a smell test. Some folks here seem like they want to head in the same direction as the incident where the poor Nashville cop who dared to stop the late Steve McNair for driving while drunk, and the cop gets his career ruined. At some point, these kids need to account for their actions. Right now, while they are legally adults, but mentally children, would be a good time to give them a swift and meaningful dose of accountablity. Clearly they have gotten a pass, discipline-wise, in their early years, because they could play ball. That needs to stop right now. I say see ya, including Jackson. He wasn't coming out of the market as some have said here, but out of the car, so he probably saw the other two rocket scientist get out with the pop gun. He had a chance to run away, or try and stop them right then and there and did not do it. Maybe they can catch on at Mississipi Valley State, or Murray. They will either learn from this, or they will become Tony Robinson. It's up to them, but coddling them because they can run a 4.4 40 does a great disservice to both them and the University that gave them a chance to get out of Pahokee.

Yea...what you said.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Funny how you like the word "fact" when in fact, you know nothing more than what the KNS has reported. The Knoxville DA will see it about the same way they would in Tuscaloosa, Gainsville, Athens, or Baton Rouge. The important question is how does the UT administration see it, more precisely Kiffin and Hamilton. About like the places mentioned above, I reckon'. No felony, no expulsion from the team. Short suspension, lots of talk about the kid and his potential, end of story. No news here, it's been that way in big-time college football for 40 years and it will be that way 40 years from now. I'm neither agreeing with it or defending it, it's just the way it is. My dad told me a long time ago that to see the answer to any question, just follow the money. UT and our SEC brethren are about money, football money, and kicking talented players off your team when there are other options is counterproductive to that mission. Any non-Vol who thinks their team would act any differently has the same level of intelligence as our three convenience store groupies.

asleep#212036 writes:

Further, the Prius was owned by the girl, and we don't know where Jackson was during the incident. He could have stayed in the car the entire time or he could have gone into the store and come back. Two of the victims have differing accounts of his role so who knows? And what were those kids doing at a convenience store with no money at 2 AM? Looks to me like you have about 7 18-23 year olds meeting (by chance?) at a convenience store in the early hours and there's some weed involved. Hmmm. I would imagine that there will be many more "facts" brought to the public before this plays out. One thing for sure - Jackson lawyered up with a high-powerered guy so the chances of his being charged with a felony just went to slim and none and thus his chances of playing again in a UT uniform just went to overwhelming and bet on it. That's big money college sports and it isn't changing any time soon.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to intern1#248421:

It is the responsibility of the campus administration to keep the campus safe. I can't believe you asked "why students should be specially protected?" They pay to get an education, they essentially have to be there to do that, the campus administration should provide as safe of an atmosphere as possible for that to happen in. Same reason why high schools have to be safe. Or are you saying your children shouldn't be protected when they're there either?

Also to the people who think the victims aren't victims, one guy was in the gas station while the other 3 victims were in the car. Why would they do that if they were doing a drug deal? That doesn't make any sense. They're college students at a gas station at 2am, why is that so unusual and hard to believe?

The strip is not part of campus.

Kids in HS, junior HS, elementary, grade schools are minors. And they are required by law to be there. Big difference.

Higher education is a business. Students are not forced to go there. Having a safe campus is a selling point but is not a requirement. Otherwise you would see fencing around the entire property. Is it the fault of Haslem for not providing a safe gas station for its customers?

Side point. My old elementary school, where I used to play on the playground after school and on weekends, now has a fence around the perimeter that is only open during school hours. Sad.

WLafIndianavol writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DaMan is a D A!

BallBreaker writes:

in response to Ringside:

you can lead a horse to water.....

It seems to me these 18 year olds were getting their donkies whacked and were being led on for kicks by this 22 year old donkey whacker. This doesn't make their offense if guilty any less serious at all. But give the system a little time to work this out before these guys are executed.
Another thing how many of you that saw and heard the 2 "victims" interview? They seemed to be really nervous and out of it. Would I believe them over the suspects? No not untill I had tangible evidence that there was really a crime. A pellet gun and 2 hoodies in a car doesn't mean they were used as the "victims" said. The guys were in fact guilty beyond a doubt about being out past curfew. Who among us has not stayed out past curfew for some fun? For being out past curfew they need to be disiplined quickly for that and their football careers put on hold untill the truth is determined. If they are guilty they need to forgo their football scholarships and kicked out of school. On the other hand if they come up innocent then the majority here owes them a very serious apology. What I have noticed here reminds me of the old west and the lynchings that happened before the judge arrived to hear the case.
Let the system work and let's not crucify these kids before they have had their day in court!

VolGrad writes:

in response to intern1#248421:

It is the responsibility of the campus administration to keep the campus safe. I can't believe you asked "why students should be specially protected?" They pay to get an education, they essentially have to be there to do that, the campus administration should provide as safe of an atmosphere as possible for that to happen in. Same reason why high schools have to be safe. Or are you saying your children shouldn't be protected when they're there either?

Also to the people who think the victims aren't victims, one guy was in the gas station while the other 3 victims were in the car. Why would they do that if they were doing a drug deal? That doesn't make any sense. They're college students at a gas station at 2am, why is that so unusual and hard to believe?

First of all, I think it is the universities intent and practice to make the campus as safe as possible. Do you have information that suggests otherwise in this case?

Secondly, I suppose you've pulled up the job description for a typical campus admin type (no official title here) position and found that there? There is nothing in all creation that states or assumes that a college campus is able to be made any safer than the community immediately surrounding it. "They pay to get an education," so you're saying then should have some level of special protection? College students receive an education at orientation and periodically throughout the semester about being safe on campus, aware of your surroundings and where the call boxes are located, etc. Safety is a much an individual obligation and practice as it is anything else. Heck, I pay taxes; shouldn't I expect some special level of protection? How are you going to do that? You got some bright ideas how to keep a college campus safer, then by all means share them with the "campus administration" types..., whoever they are.

Finally, if I have kids at a college campus, they are already going to know how to take care of themselves, or the best ways to avoid dangerous situations because I've educated them on the subject. And I would never trust any institution, college or government, alone for my own safety or the safety of my kin.

So what more are to expect the "campus administration" to do than they are already doing? And, how much is that going to add to the already extravagant costs of funding a college education? Get real.

ncvol17 writes:

in response to FLVOL79:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

good to know that those are the only 2 states with young criminals or kids who do something very, very stupid...Thanks goodness NC or Tenn don't have any of those types. Anybody remember where Hubert Simpson was from?? He was the 1st UT criminal player I can remember in my cognitive memory.

marietta_vol writes:

Kick 'em out. That will make my UT degree worth more. I don't want to be known as thug u, particularly living out of state.

jet writes:

in response to carsonce:

College students don't follow a typical adult's schedule. They can stay up later because they are young and can schedule classes to where they don't have to wake up until noon. I don't see anything surprising about a college student wanting a cheesburger and a pack of smokes late at night. That is typical college student behavior.

Based on what I read, they weren't college students and they didn't live in Knoxville. They were from Maryville.

GOJO writes:

in response to OakRidgerX:

How many more does UT have? How are the campus administrators keeping other students safe while allowing gang-banging thugs onto campus with full scholarships? 42 states allow juvenile records with violent and repeat/offender crimes to be opened by institutions such as UT, but TN doesn't. No wonder all the thugs have a free ride to TN and quality athletes/students go elsewhere away from this thug mentality institution. What a shame that someone may be killed by a doctor from UT and criminal records are checked for them, but having a criminal act committed against you by a VOL nobody in administration cares.

I would love to hear the people explain this away as a parent problem or they have rights; they have an obligation to follow the laws, and since they didn't get that before becoming 18 Knoxville residents may die. What a joke to think 18 is the age of accountability for someone else's life.

You must really have a "beef" with U.T. to write such outlandish gibberish. Were you or one of your kids denied admission? It seems to be being handled well.

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