NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro police are investigating after two Vanderbilt University football players were shot outside a West Nashville Target store Monday night.
Police said the shooting, which happened in the retailer’s parking lot on White Bridge Road around 8:45 p.m., was not random and was directly related to an arranged meeting between two groups involving an “ill-conceived plan” to recover a stolen cell phone.
The investigation revealed Vanderbilt player Donaven Tennyson sold a cell phone through a website earlier this week. Police said the student met with the prospective buyer in a Chili’s parking lot on West End around 5 p.m. Monday.
Tennyson reportedly told police it was during that meeting that his cellphone was stolen. He said he later noticed the phone had been put up for sale on the same website by the alleged thief.
Police said Tennyson then created a fake account on the site, requested to purchase the phone, and arranged to meet the seller in the Target parking lot Monday evening.
Tennyson, 19, went to the parking lot with two friends and fellow students, O’montae Daley and Frank Coppet. Police said the college students had a pellet pistol with them in an effort to get the phone back.
According to a release, the football players pulled up next to the seller’s gray Buick sedan in a Toyota Corolla when Coppet got out of the car with the pellet gun in his hand. It was then a man in the Buick got out of his car and shot at them with a pistol of his own while another man still inside the car fired a shotgun.
Police said Daley and Coppet were both injured by the gunfire. One of the gunmen fled in the Buick, while the other drove away in Daley’s Toyota.
Their identities have not yet been determined. The Buick is described as a four-door sedan with dark tinted windows and damage to both passenger doors. Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Trackers at 615-74-CRIME.
News 2 reached out to Vanderbilt University for a statement. School officials said, in full:
Three Vanderbilt University students were involved in a shooting incident at a Target store in West Nashville. The incident stemmed from a cell phone stolen from one of the Vanderbilt students. Two of the Vanderbilt students suffered gunshot wounds. Our foremost concern is the wellbeing of our students, but it appears their injuries are not life-threatening. The university is monitoring the situation and will determine if any action on the part of the university is appropriate.