KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A 30-year-old Johnson City man is facing charges stemming from an encounter with first responders during the Tennessee-Florida game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. The suspect is accused of assaulting a trooper and being “highly intoxicated,” according to an arrest report.
The suspect, Ryan Gambino, was initially contacted by Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was working the game assisting with security and law enforcement. The deputy states in the arrest report that they approached Gambino near Gate 23, observing him walk past security into the stadium with an open beer can.
“I approached (Gambino) who immediately became very argumentative when I asked him to please throw away the beer,” the deputy stated, going on to say the suspect had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot eyes, and was unsteady on his feet.
The deputy tried to escort Gambino out of the stadium when he began to pull away and sat down on the ground. A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper and UT Police officer responded to the developing scene; the first responders tried to pull Gambino’s digital ticket up on his phone so they could scan it “so he could properly be ejected from the game.” Still, the report states Gambino refused to cooperate.
The deputy, officer and trooper asked Gambino if there was anyone he could call and he reportedly continued to argue with them and refused to show them his digital ticket or give any information. Gambino was placed into custody and he began to resist – refusing to walk, and attempting “to be dead weight while walking through the stadium.”
Gambino also reportedly tried to kick the THP trooper several times, eventually striking the trooper in the upper thigh. He was then taken to the Knox County Jail.
Gambino is charged with public intoxication and assault on a first responder. His bonded arraignment hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
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Alcohol sales at Neyland Stadium began in September 2019. At the time, UT had been exploring the potential to sell alcohol at on-campus venues after the Knoxville Beer Board approved alcohol sales on campus by UT’s food vendor, Aramark, in July 2019. Alcohol sold at Neyland Stadium must be in clear containers and valid photo IDs are required for sales and consumption.