published Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Tennessee: UT’s Brent Vinson witnesses shooting in Knoxville

by Wes Rucker
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Patrick Smith
    Tennessee defensive back Brent Vinson (13) celebrates following a play against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Florida won 30-6.

KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee football player Brent Vinson witnessed a shooting late Tuesday night near campus, Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

DeBusk said the shooting victim — later identified as Charles Corn — was transported to UT medical center and still listed in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon.

The incident occurred in the Woodlands Townhouses of Knoxville, located a few miles south of campus at 3700 Spruce Ridge Way. Accounts of the incident state that witnesses told police of two men seen leaving the area after the shooting.

Corn, whose age hasn’t been made available, reportedly lived in the townhouse where he was shot.

“Brent Vinson was apparently a witness in the incident that occurred (Tuesday) night, and he has been interviewed in relation to that incident,” DeBusk said. “That incident occurred on Spruce Ridge Way about 11:41 (Tuesday) night. In that incident was a male victim that was shot more than one time, and he was transported to UT medical center. The last update I had was that he was in critical condition.”

DeBusk also confirmed that KPD officers are trying to contact and question former UT men’s basketball player Ramar Smith in regards to a home invasion that occurred May 18 in Knoxville. DeBusk could not confirm a connection regarding the incidents involving Vinson and Smith, but several close to the program are concerned with that possibility.

The UT athletic department released a statement on the Smith situation, but it has not commented on the Vinson incident.

“Ramar Smith is no longer a member of the basketball program at Tennessee and hasn’t been for more than a year,” UT’s statement said. “We also do not have all of the facts related to this incident. For those two reasons, we do not feel as though it is necessary to comment on the situation.”


Lane Kiffin’s young tenure as UT’s head football coach tallied another secondary NCAA violation earlier this week, but several athletic department sources said Kiffin wasn’t the culprit this time.

For nearly one hour Tuesday morning, Kiffin’s page featured a post that mentioned J.C. Copeland — a defensive end prospect from Troup (Ga.) High School who recently committed to the Vols.

Coaches aren’t allowed to mention specific recruit’s names until they sign national letters of intent, according to NCAA by-laws. Kiffin broke this rule in February by mentioning star tailback recruit Bryce Brown’s name during a Knoxville radio station interview. UT self-reported that violation, as well, and Brown eventually signed with the Vols.

“The post made to Twitter on Tuesday was an honest, inadvertent mistake made by a newly hired assistant to Coach Kiffin,” UT men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton said Wednesday. “We are taking the necessary steps to report the secondary violation and are working with all of the staff to ensure these types of mistakes don’t happen in the future.”

about Wes Rucker...

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