The large fight outside a Zachary Waffle House that landed a Tulane football player in jail and left a teenage girl hospitalized with serious injuries over the weekend started with a disagreement between several people about "boyfriend girlfriend stuff," police said Thursday.
Tyler Judson, a defensive back for Tulane's football team, was later arrested on a count of second-degree battery. He was quickly released on $7500 bond.
Zachary Police Chief David McDavid said it's unclear whose relationship was the subject of the disagreement, though it doesn't appear either Judson or the girl he punched was directly involved. He said the argument involved something about messages exchanged on Instagram.
At least some members of the group that started fighting had been at a party earlier that night, then went to Waffle House for some food, McDavid said.
Police were called to the Waffle House on Main Street in Zachary around 2:30 a.m. Monday in response to a disturbance. Officers interviewed several witnesses and determined that Judson had punched a female victim in the face, causing her to fall to the ground and sending her to the hospital with serious injuries. She was initially admitted to the intensive care unit, he said.
Another juvenile suspect was also arrested on simple battery, but it appears no one else was seriously injured during the fight.
McDavid said he was saddened by the incident, especially since he knew Judson, who grew up in Zachary and became a standout high school football player. He signed with Tulane before graduating from Zachary High School last spring.
He has now been indefinitely suspended from the Tulane football team.
Judson told the Advocate at the time of his signing decision that he planned to study architecture and was excited to attend an academically rigorous school close to home. He had interest from other universities too and had been committed to Ole Miss earlier in the year.
McDavid didn't identify the girl Judson is accused of punching, but WWL-TV reported her name is Denisha Coleman, a high school senior. The television station interviewed her mother, who provided a photo showing the victim in the hospital with significant injuries to her face and eyes swollen shut. She will likely need surgery to fix a broken nose and fractures near her eye, her mom said.
She said her daughter is now recovering at home, but her injuries will cause her to miss her high school graduation Friday.