AZ high school blames coach for letting suspected murderer play

Bianca Buono
6 Min Read

Police records show allegations against suspect Talan Renner were widely known and police were on campus serving a search warrant days before the game.

PHOENIX — American Leadership Academy Gilbert North is putting the blame on its now former head football coach and athletic director after an ALA student suspected of murder was allowed to continue playing football.

Talan Renner, 17, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in early March. He’s accused of participating in a group-style attack on 16-year-old Preston Lord outside of a Halloween party in Queen Creek on October 28. Lord died from his injuries on October 30.

On November 17, Renner was playing in the 5A quarterfinal game between ALA Gilbert North and Horizon High School. Horizon won the game, 38-25. 

ALA Gilbert North’s coach, Randy Ricedorff, was terminated in January. 

RELATED: ALA-Gilbert North parts ways with Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Randy Ricedorff

An ALA spokesperson told 12News, “As new evidence came to light, measures were taken to remove the student from our school and we terminated the football coach.”

But new information has come to light showing how widespread the information was prior to the game that Renner was a person of interest in the homicide.

On November 2, as Renner was absent from school, ALA Gilbert North’s own dean contacted the Queen Creek Police Department to let them know that students were accusing Renner of murder on social media.

Tips received by police claimed Renner was taken out of town to a family property so his hands could heal.

On November 6, when Renner was back at school, Queen Creek officers showed up to ALA Gilbert North’s campus to execute a search warrant on Renner and seize his cell phone. They also took photos of his hands in which they noted minor discoloration and cuts, according to police records.

RELATED: ‘I hit him pretty hard’: Preston Lord police report details how suspects allegedly behaved after deadly assault

Opposing coach receives email from concerned person before game

On November 17, ALA Gilbert North was set to face Horizon High School in the 5A quarterfinals. 

The day before the game, Horizon’s head coach received an email from a concerned person about the possibility that Renner would play. The email, obtained by 12News, says in part, “This situation is so very disturbing that it’s not fair for any teenager to have to be on a field with cold blooded murderers.”

The email also discusses how the community was aware of recent police activity at Renner’s. It also references a Snapchat allegedly sent by Renner. Queen Creek’s police report detail multiple disturbing messages they allegedly uncovered sent by Renner as early as the night of the attack where police say he appeared to have confessed to hitting Lord.

“Got in a fight… killed a kid.. guess I don’t know my own strength,” Renner allegedly wrote in a message on Oct. 28, according to the police report. 

Horizon’s coach reported the email to his administrators. It’s another example of how allegations against Renner were widely known.

Still, ALA Gilbert North allowed Renner to play the following day and he was named the player of the game.

On Monday, 12News followed up with ALA’s spokesperson, asking if the decision to let Renner play was exclusively made by the coach, and what actions were taken against administrators who were also aware of the allegations against Renner at the time of the football game. So far, the school has not responded.

Department of Education and AIA respond

12News spoke to an AIA representative over the phone who stated they do not have any bylaws addressing alleged criminal activity and this decision was up to the school.

In an email, a spokesperson for Arizona’s Department of Education said “situations like this are not in our jurisdiction.”

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Bianca Buono ,
KPNX Vivrr Local Feed: crime , 2024-04-02 05:32:01
Categories: teen-violence,news,crime,valley,local,home

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