Ex-Minnesota Quarterback Charged with Assault in Mankato

Updated: 05/13/2014 12:43 PM
Created: 05/12/2014 2:08 PM
By: Beth McDonough

Mankato Police confirm that a second suspect has been arrested in connection with an assault that left a former Minnesota State football player in critical condition. The name of the second suspect has not yet been released.

Another suspect, former Gopher Quarterback Philip Nelson, 20, was released from jail in Mankato after posting bond Monday. Nelson was arraigned earlier Monday on first-degree and third-degree assault charges for allegedly attacking 24-year-old Isaac Kolstad. A judge set Nelson's bail at $20,000.

Nelson left with a towel over his head and refused to comment.

Police in Mankato had asked for the public's help to help identify the second suspect in the attack. During a news conference Monday, police showed footage from city security cameras in the entertainment district of Mankato that show a white male in his early 20s wearing a red shirt running from the scene.

Authorities say Nelson kicked Kolstad in the head after the second suspect punched and knocked him to the ground early Sunday morning after a post-graduation party in downtown Mankato.

Kolstad, a former Minnesota State, Mankato, football player and Mankato East graduate was in critical condition as of Monday night at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. He suffered severe brain damage. His family says his health is being watched hour by hour.

Police said Kolstad was found near the intersection of Cherry and South Front streets around 2 a.m. Sunday. Nelson was arrested near the scene a short time later. Investigators said he smelled of alcohol.

Police said there were a large number of people around the intersection during the incident, which was around "five to 10 seconds." They wanted to speak with the owner of a white car, which could be seen in the surveillance video parked near the intersection.

According to the criminal complaint, Nelson had become angry after a bouncer kissed his girlfriend's hand while they were out Saturday night.

Nelson and his girlfriend were walking down the street, they ran into Kolstad who was with friends, according to the criminal complaint. At some point the situation escalated.

Surveillance footage showed Kolstad punching Nelson in the back, the complaint said. The force of the punch knocked Nelson and another person to the ground, the complaint said.

A friend of Kolstad's told investigators he was speaking with Nelson, trying to calm him down after Kolstad punched him, when he turned and saw Kolstad laying on the street.

The friend said they did not know who initially punched Kolstad.

The friend told investigators Nelson pushed past him and kicked Kolstad "in the head once, possibly two times."

Doctors told investigators Kolstad had a skull fracture on the left side of his head. Kolstad was also experiencing bleeding of the brain, brain swelling and shifting and deterioration of his lungs from lack of oxygen when he was admitted, doctors said.

The Kolstad family released a written statement Monday that read in part, "We are overwhelmed and extremely grateful for the warmth, support, love and prayers we have received over the last several days. We feel it – Isaac feels it – and we cannot express how important and helpful that has been." Read the statement here.

The Nelson family had no comment.

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