NFL player Chad Wheeler is out on bail after allegations that he brutally assaulted his girlfriend, who reportedly said she was being “killed” when she called for help.
As the New York Times reports, Wheeler was arrested late Friday night or early Saturday morning at a residence in Kent, Washington, after his girlfriend called contacted relatives and 911 saying that Wheeler had attacked and choked her so severely that she lost consciousness.
According to charging documents obtained by the Seattle Times, Wheeler’s girlfriend told police that he was in “a dark place” on Friday night, having earlier shaved his head, and that he told her to bow to him. When she questioned the demand, he allegedly grabbed her by the neck and threw her on the bed, choking her until she lost consciousness. She regained consciousness and tried to get away, but Wheeler allegedly grabbed her by the arm and strangled her again. The woman again lost consciousness, and investigators reportedly suspect Wheeler may have punched her in the face while she was unconscious, according to the report.
Reports in the New York Times and the Seattle Times indicate that the woman was able to escape to a bathroom when she regained consciousness again. She then texted friends and relatives, including Wheeler’s father, asking them to call 911, possibly because she was afraid of Wheeler overhearing her. The New York Times report states that the woman did eventually call 911, saying that she was being “killed.”
WARNING: Graphic images below
Former NFL player Emmanuel Acho posted photos of the alleged victim along with a screenshot of a social media message on Twitter, indicating that the victim wrote the message. CrimeOnline has not yet independently confirmed the source of the photos or the text, which allege that Wheeler appeared surprised when the victim regained consciousness, indicating that he thought she had died.
Chad Wheeler of the @Seahawks tried to kill his girlfriend because she wouldn’t bow to him. He was even surprised at her survival.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) January 27, 2021
“When I ran to the bathroom, he said, ‘wow, you’re still alive,’ while sipping on a smoothie,” the message screenshot reads in part.
Citing charging documents, the Seattle Times report notes that Wheeler is 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 310 pounds, while the victim is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 145 pounds.
According to the report, Kent police forced entry into the residence on Friday night as they heard screaming coming from inside the apartment.
Wheeler allegedly resisted arrest and refused to cooperate with efforts to detain him. Unable to physically detain him, the officers reportedly used a Taser gun to subdue the suspect and take him into custody. During his arrest, Wheeler reportedly shouted to the victim that he loved her and said, “I don’t beat women,” according to the New York Times.
The victim reportedly suffered a broken arm and a dislocated shoulder, and had bruises on her neck, along with lesions in the shape of fingertips, suggesting that she had been strangled. The woman reportedly told police she believed Wheeler had bipolar disorder and was not taking his medication.
The suspect is currently on on bail. Wheeler was booked into Kings County Jail, the region’s felony detention center, but released on $400,000 bail on Tuesday. Although prosecutors requested he be required to wear an ankle monitor, reports indicate that he is not currently wearing one, and the bail conditions will be addressed at his arraignment on Monday, which had initially been scheduled for February 9.
It is unclear if the victim is still in the hospital. CrimeOnline is awaiting comment from the Kent Police department and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
Wheeler, who previously played for the New York Giants, was most recently an offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks. He was set to be a free agent for the upcoming NFL season, and the Seahawks said on Wednesday that he would not be returning to the team. Also on Wednesday, Wheeler issued an apology on Twitter, blaming the violence on a mental health episode.
“Events happened over the weekend that transpired from a manic episode,” he wrote, adding that he would be leaving the NFL.
It is time for me to walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another. I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed.
— Chad Wheeler (@ChadWheeler72) January 27, 2021
CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
[Feature image: AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File]