EUGENE, Ore. -- Police have arrested a suspect in the severe beating of a University of Oregon football player last weekend.
According to Eugene police, Oregon Ducks freshman kicker Rob Beard was walking with another kicker, Mike Bowlin, and several other football players around 12:30 a.m. Sunday on East 17th Ave. and Patterson Alley when Bowlin got into a verbal argument with several other people.
Police said a huge brawl broke out involving 20 to 40 people. Friends said Beard tried to break up the fight but he was knocked to the ground.
On Wednesday night, officers arrested 20-year-old Maurice Dion Peterson, III. Investigators believe Peterson was in the angry mob and among those who hit and kicked Beard. Now he will face 2nd degree assault charges.
As for Beard, he has been released from the hospital to recover at home following surgery. Police said the 19-year-old was kicked in the head and lost consciousness. He suffered fractures under his eyes, a broken nose and bruising to the brain.
Beard's mother flew up from California as soon as she heard the news.
"He's in a little bit of pain, but he'll come through this okay. He's had a tremendous amount of support from the football and athletic community. That's really given him a lot of comfort," said Leslie Beard.
Beard's father said his son underwent facial reconstruction surgery Monday. Beard was initially listed in critical condition but was updated to fair condition Monday afternoon.
Police said they were looking for a man last seen wearing a red, hooded sweatshirt who possibly drove away in a car with Washington license plates. However, on Thursday, they had not said whether they believe Peterson was the person who fit this description, or if more arrests were still pending.