Two Greensboro College Football Players Help Tackle Federal Fugitive
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro College freshman football players Nate Coffey, a quarterback, and Josh Jones, a defensive lineman, were among five young men who helped Jackson County sheriff’s deputies capture a federal fugitive at a high-school football game Sept. 14.
According to Coffey and a report in the Sylva Herald, here’s what happened:
Coffey was at his alma mater Smoky Mountain High School’s football game along with Jones and with three high-school friends. When the five left the game at halftime and started to get into Coffey’s car, a man approached them.
Coffey, Jones, and a third friend, Jack Paulus, were already in the car and waiting on the other two, Trey Hamilton and Justus Day, when the man asked Hamilton and Day for a ride.
The two said that Coffey, the driver, would have to decide. As the man walked past Hamilton and Day to try to speak to Coffey, they saw that he was holding a gun behind his back.
“Trey bear-hugged him, and Justus got the gun away from him,” Coffey said. “Josh hopped out to try to help. I was trying to reverse out and telling all of them to just get in the car. … But by then, he’d run off. Justus unloaded the gun and set it on the ground. (Deputies) got him about two minutes later.”
The suspect had had two guns, one of which he had thrown away at the game, Coffey later learned.
Deputies, who had been following the fugitive at the game and trying to arrest him away from spectators, charged Tanner Moren Eagle Larch of Cherokee with multiple felonies, including possession of a stolen firearm, the Herald reported.
It was not immediately clear on what federal charges Larch was wanted.
“None of us were really scared because in the moment we were just trying to figure out what to do,” Coffey said. “I didn’t realize (how dangerous it could have been) until after the fact. I later heard he told someone at the game that he wasn’t going back to jail, so … that’s just crazy.”
Greensboro College provides a liberal arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.
Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and four master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features an 18-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities.