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The story of a college football player hurting himself while saving a drowning kid keeps getting stranger

Josh Shaw’s at the centre of a media storm.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

AS MORE DETAILS emerge, the full story of how USC football player Josh Shaw sprained both his ankles remains a mystery.

On Monday night, USC’s website published an article that said Shaw hurt himself jumping from a second-floor balcony to save his seven-year-old nephew from drowning at a family party in Palmdale, California, on Saturday.

“I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew,” he said.

On Tuesday, his story appeared to begin to unravel.

After practice, coach Steve Sarkisian told the press that USC was investigating the incident after it received “a few phone calls contradicting what Josh said occurred.”

Sarkisian’s full statement:

Josh Shaw, first and foremost, is a good person. He’s a good kid. He came to us with what had occurred Saturday night and I have no reason, no history, not to believe Josh and his story and what has occurred. Obviously within the last few hours or so we’ve gotten a few phone calls contradicting what Josh said occurred Saturday night. We’re going to continue to vet it. Beyond that, I only know what I know. Josh is adamant about what has occurred.

Later Tuesday TMZ reported that Shaw was mentioned in a police report about a man “shimmying” down the side of a building in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

An LAPD spokesperson told USA Today that there was a burglary at Shaw’s girlfriend’s apartment but that he wasn’t a suspect. He just looked like the suspect:

Sara Faden, Public Information Officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, said there was a burglary that occurred at 11 p.m. Aug. 23 at the residence of a woman who identified herself as Josh Shaw’s girlfriend. Faden said witnesses described the burglary suspect as ‘male, black, with dreadlocks,’ but, ‘The suspect is not Shaw. It happens to be a mutually matching description. No one pointed a finger at him as a suspect.’

The Los Angeles Times has a more detailed account of what happened at the apartment building:

At 10pm Saturday night, officers went to the Orsini Apartments on North Figueroa Street to check on a report of a woman’s screams from a third-floor unit, police said. No one answered the door, so the officers forced entry. No one was inside.
A neighbour reported seeing a man run across or scale a balcony, and gave a general description of the individual.
Later, as officers interviewed a woman resident of the complex, they told her what the one witness had seen. She responded, ‘Sounds like my boyfriend, Josh Shaw,’ according to Lt. Andrew Neiman, an LAPD spokesman. The woman also told the officers Shaw was at dinner with friends, Neiman said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the LAPD said: ”We’ve got no record of us having a run in with him. That’s not to say something didn’t happen with him. We have no record of anything happening.”

Shaw’s sister Asia (the mother of the 7-year-old nephew whom he said he saved) talked to USA Today and implied that the pool story was true. She said: “The [person] who was supposed to be watching him turned away for a second. And Josh, who is on the balcony, saw the incident and reacted.”

She called the burglary story “speculation.” To make matters more complicated, though, Asia wasn’t at the pool party where the supposed rescue occurred.

Shaw’s father, James, also wasn’t at the party but told the LA Times on Monday night: “That’s Josh for you. That’s about all you need to know about him.”

What we don’t know in this story outweighs what we do know.

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