Tiger.Stadium.fireworks.jpg

LSU players run into Tiger Stadium amid a shower of fireworks in this undate photo.

A former University of Alabama student has apologized for phoning in a bomb threat to a packed Tiger Stadium during the 2019 LSU-Florida football game, calling his actions "unbelievably stupid."

"Looking back, it is unbelievable that I made such a big mistake and I am thankful that no one was hurt because of my actions," Connor Croll wrote in a letter addressed to the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish and "anyone affected by my actions on October 12th, 2019."

East Baton Rouge prosecutors on Friday appeared before state District Judge Tiffany Foxworth-Roberts and dismissed a felony count of communicating false information of a planned bombing on school property — a charge that had been hanging over Croll's head for more than two years and carried up to 20 years in prison.

The charge was dismissed after Croll, 21, of Virginia, successfully completed the terms of a pretrial intervention program. He had previously pleaded not guilty. He performed more than 250 hours of community service, including 116 hours with Habitat for Humanity, his lawyer, James Rothkamm, said Monday.

In his letter of apology, which is included in a mitigation packet filed into the court record, Croll said he was in the last week of pledging a fraternity that was 11 hours from his home and was two months into living away from home for the first time in his life at the time of the incident.

"At the time I thought I had no choice, I was so caught up in finishing being a pledge that I let that cloud my judgement," he wrote. "I was with a bunch of the actives in my fraternity and I should have walked away. I obviously feel like a fool now."

Croll said he is especially sorry for what he put law enforcement through. He paid $2,040 in restitution to the LSU Police Department, Rothkamm said.

"On the night of October 12th, 2019 I made an unbelievably stupid decision. Because of my actions I have wasted so much of your time and resources," Croll wrote.

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"I have definitely learned a lot about what my actions could have caused and now understand much more about all the procedures you go through before, during and after all of the games to keep everyone safe," he added.

Croll ended his letter by saying he also understands "how lucky I am that no one was hurt."

Rothkamm called Croll a "good guy" who "just got mixed up in a situation he regrets." Croll is now enrolled at a community college and doing very well academically, his lawyer said.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Croll immediately admitted to his wrongdoing and cooperated with authorities. Moore called Croll's behavior "totally unacceptable" but said LSU police and other assisting agencies acted swiftly and quickly recognized "that this was a stupid, misguided hoax."

Authorities have said that a call to the Baton Rouge Police Department's nonemergency line during the high-profile 2019 LSU-Florida game warned of a bomb in Tiger Stadium and was traced to Croll's phone. He was a freshman at Alabama at the time.

Police say he confessed to making the threat in an effort to halt the game because "his friend was on the verge of losing a large bet," booking records show.

A crowd of 102,321 saw LSU beat Florida 42-28.

ESPN, which televised the game, said it was the network's most-watched college football game in nearly two years and ranked in the top five of ESPN's most-watched October games of the last quarter-century.

The game was viewed by an average of 6,450,000 viewers and peaked at 7,428,000 late in the fourth quarter. The contest was the most popular sporting event nationwide that day, ESPN said.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.

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