Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback who returned to pro football this year after a prison term for dog fighting and remains on probation, has denied involvement in a nightclub shooting at his 30th birthday celebration that again placed the former superstar at the center of a police investigation.
"I want to assure everyone that I had nothing to do with that incident," Vick said in a statement released to the press Thursday night, almost a week after the June 25 shooting. "I left the restaurant prior to it occurring and did not witness what happened."
Police thus far have refused to rule out anyone present at the party last Friday and have not identified the shooting victim, a man who sustained "non-life threatening injuries" early that morning outside Guadalajara's restaurant, a nightclub in Virginia Beach.
Vick's lawyer, however, told The Associated Press the victim was Quanis Phillips, a high school teammate and co-defendant in Vick's infamous dog fighting case for which Vick served 21 months in federal prison
. "On June 25, 2010 I attended a birthday party held in my honor at the Guadalajara's Restaurant in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After I left the event, I learned that a man was shot outside the restaurant," Vick said in the statement without naming Phillips.
Virginia Beach Police have not named or ruled out any suspects, according to spokeswoman Margie Hobbs.
"We're still trying to talk to all the witnesses involved. If and when a warrant is obtained, then we will name a suspect," Hobbs said. "The investigation is still continuing."
Vick said he informed the NFL following the incident and had been honest when questioned by police and the league.
"I have been completely truthful and fully cooperative from the very beginning," Vicks said, "and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and the NFL as this investigation continues."
Vick's lawyer, Larry Woodward, told The Associated Press earlier in the week that the former Atlanta Falcon's quarterback, left the club 10 to 20 minutes before the shooting, but the club's spokesman said surveillance video footage contradicted that claim.
Alan Fabijan, spokesman for Guadalajara Mexican restaurant and nightclub, said time-stamped footage from a surveillance camera outside the entrance of the club shows a car with a man Fabijan says is Vick inside driving away at 2:07 a.m. — about 4 minutes before the shooting a block away, according to the AP.
The waiting car with the man identified as Vick inside pulled away at about 2:07 a.m., heading in the direction of the eventual shooting. Numerous people were visible lingering in front of the club for several minutes until, at 2:10:55, they appear to be startled, with some ducking for cover, the AP reported.
Police told ABC News they received a 911 cal at 2:11 am. Hobbs said detectives were in possession of the footage.
"Our investigators are continuing to look at the video for clues," she said.
Calls to Vick's lawyer Larry Woodward were not immediately returned.
In April 2007 Vick was sentenced on charges related to a dog fighting ring he ran in which several dogs were killed and buried in the yard of his home.
After serving 21 months in a federal prison, Vick was released and returned to the NFL to play for Philadelphia. Vick is entering his second season playing for the Eagles and is due to earn $5.2 million.
Vick's reinstatement in the NFL this season was contingent on his compliance with the terms of his probation, and the league and Eagles have said they are looking into the matter.