A suspect has been released and authorities are searching for another one after a weekend fight left a former Minnesota State University football player in critical condition.
Rutgers University football player Philip Nelson, 20, is accused of kicking Isaac Kolstad, 24, in the head. Authorities say prior to the alleged kick, a mystery man – seen on surveillance video running down the street – knocked Kolstad to the ground after a post-graduation party in downtown Mankato, Minn.
Nelson left jail with a towel over his head after posting bond Monday. He was charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault.
He declined to comment, but told police he doesn’t remember kicking Kolstad, officials said.
His attorney, Jim Fleming, said after the Monday court appearance that it's unclear who caused Kolstad's injuries, suggesting that the wanted suspect "threw a debilitating blow to the victim," ESPN reported.
Fleming said Nelson "was not an aggressor in this situation."
Todd Miller, Mankato’s director of public safety, said the second suspect is described as a white male in his early 20s, wearing a red T-shirt and jeans.
Kolstad and Nelson crossed paths after a night at the bars, getting into an argument around 2 a.m. Sunday, according to court documents.
Authorities say Kolstad threw the first punch, striking Nelson in the back.
Kolstad walked away.
That’s when, investigators say, the man in the red shirt ran up to Kolstad and punched him in the face. Witness Mackenzie Skay said Kolstad immediately collapsed.
“He fell instantly to the ground,” Skay said. “I can still hear the sound of his head hitting the ground. It was horrible.”
Surveillance cameras then captured Nelson approaching Kolstad – who was motionless on the ground – and kicking him in the head, according to court documents.
Kolstad’s family says they’ve already been told he will have permanent brain damage, but the next few weeks will be key to his recovery.
Nelson, a former quarterback at Minnesota, transferred to Rutgers earlier this year. Rutgers University has reserved comment until the legal process is complete.