Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr. struggled with suspects in shooting

Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr. struggled with suspects in shooting

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correction

A previous version of this story stated that keys had been stolen, based on information provided in a police report. D.C. police later clarified that no property was taken. This version has been corrected.

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. “was able to wrestle a firearm away” from one of the two male assailants attempting to rob him Sunday before the other shot him twice, D.C. police said Monday.

The pair approached Robinson after he left a storefront in the 1000 block of H Street NE shortly before 6 p.m. Robinson was taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center for treatment of injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening. On Monday, he wrote on Instagram that he had undergone surgery that “went well.”

Coach Ron Rivera said Monday that Robinson is “doing well” and “it’ll be a matter of time before he’s back out here.” He declined to give a timeline for Robinson’s recovery or be specific about the extent of his injuries, but Rivera noted that both Robinson and his doctors were “very positive.”

Authorities have not identified the suspects, who D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III said probably are 15 to 17 years old. Police described the assailants as having shoulder-length dreadlocks and said one wore a black or brown shirt with yellow smiley faces on it. One firearm was recovered about a block south of the shooting.

Prince George’s County police said the vehicle the two used to flee the scene was recovered Sunday evening in the 1500 block of Jutewood Avenue, about four miles from FedEx Field. The car was reported stolen in Prince George’s County on Friday afternoon.

Commanders’ Brian Robinson Jr., shot twice in D.C., is in stable condition

According to the incident report from Sunday’s shooting, Robinson told police he was shot in the leg. The Commanders issued a statement Sunday night confirming that Robinson was stable and saying his family and a contingent of team officials had joined him at the hospital. Rivera was among those who visited, along with team owners Daniel and Tanya Snyder, team president Jason Wright, General Manager Martin Mayhew, running backs coach Randy Jordan, chief medical officer Anthony Casolaro and director of mental wellness and clinical services Barbara Roberts.

“I’ve gotten several phone calls as a head coach, unfortunately, but this one was one of the harder ones,” Rivera said. “… He really is more than just a football player. He is really a heck of a young man.”

The coach said he was watching film of Robinson when he got the call about the shooting. He immediately told Jordan, and the two drove together to the hospital.

Before practice Monday morning, Rivera brought his players together for a team meeting to talk about Robinson and the incident. He asked players to “do the best they could” in practice that morning, and he came away pleased by their effort.

“You never want to see something like that happen,” defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. “By the grace of God, he’s okay. Non-life-threatening [injuries], and he’s going to be okay. That’s the most important thing right now.”

Allen said he heard the news through his brother, then went on social media to see the headlines and additional news of the shooting. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who has been somewhat of a mentor to Robinson over the past few months, said he also saw the news on social media and his immediate thought was whether Robinson was okay.

“Once we found that out, that it was not life-threatening injuries, I just started praying for him and his recovery, not just physically but mentally,” McLaurin said. “You can’t really predict it, so it seems like situations like this or some of the things that we’ve been through as a team over the last couple of years came out of nowhere. It’s hard to just predict stuff like that that’s happening. But when it does happen, we try to come together. We try to reach out to the people who are affected. I’m a big believer in prayer. So I’ll continue to pray for those people in those situations.”

Quarterback Carson Wentz heard the news in a group text with his offensive linemen, then reached out to Rivera for more information.

“It caught us all off guard yesterday on an off day [from team activities],” Wentz said. “… It’s a wake-up call to everybody. There are real-life problems out there in this world, but thankfully Brian’s doing well, I’m told, and I look forward to seeing him.”

Rivera said that, in talking with others on the Commanders staff, he could “feel the anger swelling up” about Robinson’s situation and about gun violence in the United States. Sporting a “Wear Orange” T-shirt to support the gun violence prevention movement, he urged more discussion about gun safety and said it can’t be a partisan issue.

Brian Robinson Jr. was patient at Alabama. Next up: Commanders’ backfield.

“What we saw in this case and others is just a wanton use of a firearm that hurts somebody,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Monday.

The Commanders’ primary focus now is the health of their running back, whom they picked in the third round of this year’s draft after he starred at Alabama. Robinson finished his college career ranked 10th in Crimson Tide history in rushing touchdowns (29) and 11th in rushing yards (2,704). He impressed in the offseason with Washington and was on track to earn a significant role in its offense.

Rivera said the Commanders expect to receive an update on Robinson’s health and from there will discuss the best path forward for the player and the team. It is possible Washington will place him on the non-football injury list, which would require him to miss at least the first four games of the season but would allow him to play later in his rookie year, health permitting.

“Life is hard. It really is,” McLaurin said. “In our position, where … we play a kid’s game but get paid a lot of money [and have] a lot of eyes and attention on us, people kind of forget that we are still human sometimes and things do affect us on and off the field.”

He added: “We’re going through a lot of adversity, and as a leader I try to put myself in a position to make myself available to help in any way that I can.”

Lauren Lumpkin and Katie Mettler contributed to this report.

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