Saturday, May 3, 2003

Arrest made in Weathersby shooting

By Joe Kay
The Associated Press

Cornerback Dennis Weathersby missed the start of the Cincinnati Bengals' minicamp Friday, staying in Los Angeles to recover from a gunshot wound received in a drive-by shooting.


Photos of Friday's practice
Police in Los Angeles County arrested a reputed gang member Friday in connection with the shooting. Police said Weathersby was an innocent bystander.

The cornerback from Oregon State had a bullet pass through his body, just below the lung, and lodge in his left upper arm on April 20. Partly because of the shooting, Weathersby wasn't taken on the first day of the NFL draft.

The Bengals chose him with the first pick in the fourth round on Sunday after doctors assured that he would fully recover from the injuries.

Weathersby was scheduled for more medical tests in the Los Angeles area on Friday, when the Bengals opened a voluntary minicamp for rookies and veterans.

Coach Marvin Lewis considered having Weathersby fly in from California overnight so he could be there for the final two days of the camp, but didn't think it would be very productive.

"We'd go through a whole lot of hassle, probably for a very limited amount of time, and it's probably not worth it," Lewis said.

Weathersby is expected to attend a mandatory minicamp next month. Doctors think he'll be fully recovered in time for training camp, which starts July 27 for the Bengals.

"We'll make sure we take care of him with our coaches and myself through June and July, and catch him up to speed so that when we get to training camp, he's got the mental part down," Lewis said. "Then we'll continue to monitor him physically to see that he's up to speed and in shape for training camp."

Weathersby was with a friend in Duarte, Calif., about 20 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, when he was shot in the back as he walked to his truck parked on a street.

Juan Serna, 25, of Duarte, was arrested Friday for investigation of attempted murder after Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant at a residence, Deputy David Cervantes said.

Several weapons, including an assault rifle, were seized. Serna was being held on $500,000 bail.

Cervantes said Serna is a gang member. Weathersby thinks he was inadvertently caught in the middle of violence between gangs in his former neighborhood.

"He was an innocent bystander," the deputy said of Weathersby. "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Weathersby was a semifinalist last season for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation's best college defensive back. He was a four-year starter and an All-Academic Pac-10 selection. He set a school record with 57 passes broken up during his four years and made five interceptions.

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