AP NEWS

University of Montana football player allegedly assaults WSU track athlete

October 25, 2017

A member of the Washington State University track and field team sustained head trauma early Saturday in Pullman after being allegedly punched by a University of Montana football player.

Bradley Mehring suffered a fractured skull and a hematoma, according to a police report, after he was allegedly struck by Justin Strong, who told authorities he acted in self sefense.

Strong, 22, was arrested on a charge of second-degree felony assault. He was released on his own recognizance without bond Monday, pending the results of an investigation. He has not been charged.

Mehring, 23, was flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. He was released Tuesday.

A standout safety at the University of Montana, Strong was in Pullman to watch his younger brother, Washington State defensive back Marcus Strong, play against Colorado on Saturday night.

Strong told police he was at a party on College Hill, where he tried to break up a fight between Mehring and another man but was hit from behind. Strong blamed Mehring for the punch, according to a police report, and proceeded to chase Mehring with the intent to fight.

Strong said he cooled off but saw Mehring again while walking to another residence, claiming he was balling his fist, according to police. Strong said he hit Mehring in self defense and knocked him down before proceeding to hit Mehring again as he attempted to get back up.

One witness told police that three men chased Mehring because they believed he was responsible for punching two of them at the party. According to a police report, the witness said Strong and a “man with dreadlocks” were hitting Mehring repeatedly when he was on the ground.

Another witnesss told police the three men chased Mehring, who “put his open-handed palms up” not wanting to fight. The witness proceeded to tell police Strong hit Mehring in the face, knocking him down and then punched him again.

Strong, a Rialto, California native, was named the FCS National Defensive Player of the Week earlier this month.He played his three seasons at Oregon State.

Mehring, who throws hammer for the WSU track team, is from Edmonds, Washington, where he starred at Edmonds-Woodway High School and Edmonds Community College before transferring to Washington State.