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Cops: Ex-Falcon Shembo considered fleeing country after dog’s death

Prince Shembo (Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office)
Prince Shembo (Credit: Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office)

Former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo admitted to kicking his girlfriend’s dog more than once and considered fleeing the country after its death, according to an incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Shembo, 23, turned himself in Friday evening after Gwinnett County police charged him with aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s Yorkshire terrier, Dior. He was booked into the Gwinnett County jail around 8:45 p.m. and released on bond about 90 minutes later.

Shembo’s attorney, Jerry Froelich, has maintained that his client was reacting to a bite from the dog and kicked it only once, but the story Shembo’s girlfriend relayed to police suggests otherwise.

Shembo’s now-former girlfriend, model Denicia Williams, contacted police four days after the Yorkie’s April 15 death. According to the incident report, she had confronted Shembo and told him she’d been praying about what happened to her dog.

“What if I told you I kicked your dog?” Shembo asked, according to Williams.

Williams said she then asked if it had only been once. Shembo reportedly said no.

“(Williams) stated that she told the suspect that she could not see him anymore,” the report said, “and (Shembo) stated that he might leave the country because he knows how much time he would do in prison for animal cruelty.”

Williams had reportedly left the dog at Shembo’s Buford-area apartment before returning to find it unresponsive.

According to police, Dior had significant internal injuries, including: a fractured rib, fractured liver, abdominal hemorrhage, thoracic hemorrhage, extensive bruising and hemorrhage in the muscles in her front leg and shoulders, head trauma, hemorrhage and edema in lungs, hemorrhage between the esophagus and trachea, and hemorrhage in the left eye with internal injuries.

The report obtained Tuesday said the dog died at Duluth Animal Hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm. The veterinarian had reportedly given Dior “a shot to try to help.”

Froelich did not immediately respond into inquiries from the AJC Tuesday, but during a Monday radio interview on 680 the Fan he said that created doubt about his client’s culpability in the dog’s death.

“The vet gave it a shot,” Froelich said. “And then the dog died. So I don’t know what caused the dog’s death.”

The Falcons, who drafted Shembo in the fourth round in 2014, cut him within a few hours of the Gwinnett police department’s Friday afternoon press release announcing the charges against him.

While in college at Notre Dame, Shembo was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a Saint Mary’s College freshman in his dorm room in 2010. The 19-year-old woman killed herself 10 days later by overdosing on an antidepressant.

Shembo was never charged in the case.