Topeka police released video Wednesday of two suspects approaching former Shawnee Mission West running back Brett Sterbach as he sat in his fathers car outside a Phillips 66 gas station in southeast Topeka on Saturday night.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Sterbach, who had just played in the Kansas Shrine Bowl all-star football game, was stabbed in the leg during an attempted aggravated robbery shortly before 11 p.m. His parents, Nick and Julie, and an uncle, Brad Earnest, who had flown in from Connecticut for the game, were inside the store buying drinks and snacks for the drive back to the Kansas City area.
Both suspects were described by police as Hispanic males. On the video, the first suspect, about 6 feet tall wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up and plaid shorts, walks up to the car and knocks on the window. He shows Sterbach something and, police said, asked if Sterbach had a lighter.
Sterbach opened the door as a second suspect, about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and wearing a green shirt, dark pants and a baseball cap with the bill pulled up, approached the vehicle.
At that point, the first suspect demanded Sterbachs wallet and pulled out a knife.
Sterbach refused to hand over his wallet or cell phone and then fought off his attackers. He was stabbed in the leg during the initial confrontation, but wrestled the knife away and defended himself with the knife, stabbing both suspects while chasing them away.
Police said the suspect in the dark hooded sweatshirt might have wounds to his torso and left shoulder, while the suspect in the green shirt will have significant stab wounds in his left shoulder.
Both suspects were seen leaving in a blue Dodge Ram four-door pickup driven by a third man, who police said was wearing a red shirt.
Witnesses or anyone who has information are asked to call Topeka Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007 or Topeka police detectives at 785-368-9400. Police say people with information may be eligible for a reward.