CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The family of the Chesterfield man charged with stabbing two teenage football players said their loved one did not do what he is accused of doing.
Chesterfield Police rushed to Carver Middle School Tuesday evening for a report of a stabbing in a parking lot in the 3800 block of Cougar Trail.
Pastor Michael Cherry, head of school at Life Christian Academy, said their school football team was training on the practice field when the fight broke out.
“What we have learned was that a student was dismissed from the practice who then returned with family members and initiated an altercation,” Cherry said in a statement.
Chesterfield Police Capt. Rich McCullough said the dismissed player assaulted his coach.
“The father eventually showed up. There were statements made between the father and coach. The statements became a little bit heated. The player then leaned in and punched the coach, which started a scuffle. Then other players jumped in to break it up,” McCullough described.
Officers located two victims suffering from serious stab wounds.
“Two fellow players, a 17 and 18-year-old, made the courageous decision to intervene and protect their coach from the assault," Chesterfield Police Chief Col. Jeffrey Katz wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. "This is when the father of the player assaulting the coach decided to produce a knife and repeatedly stab the two good Samaritan students."
Chief Katz said the teens were injured on their faces and chest.
Officers later arrested Turon M. Savoy Sr., 46, and charged him with malicious wounding.
A woman at his home, who identified herself as Savoy’s family member, denied the accusations.
“Well for one thing we are puzzled at that. We are puzzled,” she told CBS 6. “He couldn’t even defend himself. That’s why we are puzzled as to how someone supposedly got stabbed.”
Savoy was arraigned in Chesterfield General District Court on Wednesday.
He remained in jail following his court appearance and is scheduled back in front of a judge in January.
Life Christian Academy is located on Harrowgate Road in Chester.
Pastor Cherry said local school districts have allowed the football team to practice on their football fields during the pandemic.
“As for the most important part, our injured students were treated and released from a local hospital and we expect them to fully recover from their injuries,” Pastor Cherry stated. “We appreciate the concerns that have expressed by many in the community over the welfare of our students. We ask for continued prayers during this time.”
Katz described the teenagers who intervened in the fight as “heroic players.”
“I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly THANK those two heroic players for doing the right thing. To THANK the coach for committing to the development of our community's youth at personal risk, and to THANK the men and women of the Chesterfield County Police Department who continue to choose entry into the arena – sometimes to the jeers of jackals – in order to make a positive difference in our community and serve complete strangers in their time of greatest need. I consider it the honor of a lifetime to stand beside them and to advocate for their spirit of selfless service,” Katz wrote.
Capt. McCullough urged parents to watch and participate from the sidelines.
“Something to this level it’s unacceptable. Parents have to be the spectators and let coaches do their job and then have the conversation afterwards,” he said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.