LCHS alum suspected in alleged assault

A former La Cañada High School football player is a suspect in an alleged assault case in Sunland, according to a police official who otherwise remained tight-lipped.

Lavelle Peterson, 20, who graduated from LCHS in 2007 and was a standout running back for the Spartans, allegedly assaulted his girlfriend after an argument near her home late Thursday.

“We can't talk about it right now because the case is still pending,” said Det. T. Dougherty of the Los Angeles Police Department Foothills Division.

“There is an investigation involving that name in an alleged assault from Sept. 17,” confirmed Det. Kirby Carranza of the LAPD Foothills Division's Major Assault Crimes. “My investigators are on it. The investigation is ongoing.”

Carranza said the charges are for felony assault.

“I can't reveal too much information because the suspect is allowed his rights to privacy as well,” Det. Carranza said.

Peterson did not return a phone call seeking comment.

While attending La Cañada High, Peterson lived with Jim Mulligan and his family in La Cañada. As a high school athlete, Peterson excelled on the field. He broke school records in rushing yards in a season with 2,444 on 271 carries in 11 games.

“It sounds out of character for him,” Mulligan said about Peterson. “I'm shocked. It doesn't sound like Lavelle at all, and I've never known him to be abusive with a girl. But if he did do it, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Peterson tried to walk on to the University of Utah football program after graduating high school, but didn't make it onto the roster in the spring practices and opted for knee surgery in the summer. He did not re-enroll for the fall 2009 semester, according to the university.

Mulligan added that he hasn't seen or spoken to Peterson since the two saw each other at a funeral on Aug. 22.

“My thoughts are with the family of the girl,” Mulligan said.

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