Man shot outside of party for Vick

A ticket to Michael Vick's 30th birthday party, where a codefendant was shot.
A ticket to Michael Vick's 30th birthday party, where a codefendant was shot.
Posted: June 26, 2010

A codefendant in Michael Vick's dogfighting case was the apparent victim of a shooting that occurred outside a Virginia Beach nightclub where the Eagles quarterback was celebrating his 30th birthday party.

Vick was not involved in the incident nor was he present at the time of the early Friday morning shooting, his attorney, Larry Woodward, told the Associated Press. Virginia Beach police have not identified Vick as a "person of interest" in the shooting.

"We have no information that [Vick] was involved in any way, shape or form," police spokesman Adam Bernstein said.

The Eagles released a statement Friday afternoon that said in part:

"We are aware of the incident that occurred in Virginia early this morning and are in the process of gathering all of the facts," the statement read. "Until then, we will not have any comment on this matter."

An Eagles source said that the team believes Vick was gone before the shooting and that he is "allowed to be at his own birthday party." The source added, however, that it was still too early to decide whether the team would take disciplinary action.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded in an e-mail that the league was "looking into" the matter "to determine the facts."

According to Virginia Beach authorities, a man was shot after an altercation at Quadalajara's Mexican restaurant in the Town Center area. Police were called to the 4600 block of Columbus Street after shots were heard, but they did not locate a victim upon arrival, a police report said. They were told, however, that a man was shot in the leg and was seen leaving the scene in a white Cadillac Escalade.

The vehicle was eventually stopped by police and the victim was escorted to the Sentara Virginia Beach Hospital, where he was treated for "non-life-threatening" injuries. The suspect was described as a "black male wearing a white tank top," the report said. Bernstein could not name the victim - citing privacy laws - but various reports out of Virginia Beach identified him as Quanis Phillips.

A childhood friend of Vick's, Phillips was sentenced to 21 months in a federal prison for his role in the Virginia Beach dogfighting ring. Vick served 18 months and is prohibited from associating with any of his codefendants or any known felon.

It is unclear if Phillips was invited by Vick to his party or if they had any contact.

Vick, of course, was put on a short leash upon his return to the NFL last July. At the time of his reinstatement, commissioner Roger Goodell said, "Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited."

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was just as adamant.

"There is no room for error on Michael's part," Lurie said last August, on the day the Eagles introduced their new signing. "There are no third chances and we know that. That's the thing, if this isn't fulfilled the way we expect it to be, then that will be the end."

Vick has managed to mostly stay out of trouble since his release from Leavenworth Federal Prison. However, his judgment in regards to the party - various athletes, including Allen Iverson, were reportedly in attendance - could come into question.

Vick was at Hampton University on Friday holding his football camp when a reporter asked if he had a comment on the incident.

"Watch what you do. Pick and choose your friends carefully," Vick said, according to the AP. "You just can't put yourself in vulnerable situations."

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who was at the party, told the Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press that he and Vick had already left before the shooting.

"We were already gone by the time that stuff started happening, so I don't know what's going to go on with that or whatever," White said. "But we didn't have anything to do with it."

Daily Press urban affairs columnist David Squires wrote Friday on his blog, citing sources, that Vick and Phillips had an argument before the shooting about the possible smearing of the birthday cake. Squires wrote that Phillips had threatened to "smash the cake in Vick's face."

He then cited another version of the story that said the cake smearing happened - or was going to happen - to Phillips.

As for the shooting, Bernstein said that the victim and any other witnesses have been "completely uncooperative."

A message left with Vick's agent, Joel Segal, was not returned yesterday.

Vick, who was recently named the most hated athlete in sports in a Forbes magazine poll, is in the second year of the two-year deal he signed with the Eagles a year ago. Although many expected Vick to be traded in the off-season, he returns as the backup to new starter Kevin Kolb.


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745

or jmclane@phillynews.com.

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