SALT LAKE CITY -- University of Utah football players react for the first time, after two teammates end up shot at a weekend house party.
Twenty-year-old Lo Falemaka and 19-year-old Brooks-Brown are recovering from gunshot wounds after a man reportedly retaliated after being thrown out of a party on 1300 East just before midnight Saturday.
He opened fire, hitting Falemaka and Brooks-Brown in the torso.
News of what happened was tough to swallow.
"My thoughts was the worst [sic]," said linebacker Gionni Paul. "I just thought I lost two of the nicest guys I know, Marcel Brown and Lo Falemaka. They great guys, great teammates [sic]."
Backup left end Kylie Fitts was also shocked.
"It's something tough," he said. "It's hard for me emotionally dealing with something like that because I'm very close with them."
The team is relieved both will make a recovery. Brooks-Brown is already out of the hospital. Coach Kyle Whittingham said Falemaka could be released within a week or so.
"I would say Marcel is probably going to be able to rejoin us sooner than Lo," Whittingham said. "Lo may be done for the rest of the year that remains to be seen."
Whittingham said he gave a message to players, one he's reiterated before.
"It's a constant reminder to the players, to stay out of bad situations and make good decisions," he said.
Falemaka and Brooks-Brown didn't necessarily make a bad choice, he added, it happened to be the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Bottom line there is we're very, very fortunate and blessed that they are both OK," the coach said. "It could have been a lot worse."
Above all, the team said they are banding together, to rally around the two as they recover.
"Any time something like this happens, it definitely brings the team together," quarterback Kendal Thompson said.
Paul echoed the same sentiment.
"It brought us more closer as a group because you never know what happen [sic]." he said. "We really enjoy each other each and every day."