Accomplice sought in Colo. stabbing Police in Evans...

September 16, 2006

Accomplice sought in Colo. stabbing

Police in Evans, Colo., said yesterday that they are looking for a second suspect in the stabbing of Northern Colorado's starting punter.

Police Lt. Gary Kessler said witnesses saw an alleged accomplice standing near the getaway car Monday night just after punter Rafael Mendoza was stabbed in his kicking leg outside his apartment.

"He didn't play a role in the assault, but he played a role in the crime," Kessler said. "He was dressed in black clothing. He was involved in the aftermath of the incident."

Northern Colorado backup punter Mitch Cozad is accused of stabbing Mendoza in his kicking leg outside his apartment in Evans, a small town adjacent to Greeley and about 50 miles north of Denver.

Not long after Monday's attack, a liquor store employee called police and said two men were removing tape from the front and rear license plates of a car in the parking lot. Once removed, the employee saw the license plate number read "8-KIKR," which led police to the family of Cozad, Kessler said.

"We haven't ruled anything out, and the investigation is still open," Kessler said.

Arrested Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree assault, Cozad, of Wheatland, Wyo., remained free on $30,000 bond yesterday. He has been suspended from the university and evicted from his dorm room.

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