SPOKANE, Wash. – Kevin Ellison's federal arson charge came as a surprise to everyone, especially team owner Brady Nelson. Ellison's charge stems from the fire at the Big Trout Apartment fire Thursday morning. Nelson told KHQ on Friday that Ellison has been one of the most solid players on the team, someone who could have been a leader.
"The guys like him, he's a great player. He has been a starter for us. He was going to play a big role tomorrow night in a huge rival game for us, so something like this happening is just unexpected," Nelson said.
Court documents reveal that Ellison told detectives that God told him to light his bed on fire with a burning cigar.
His roommate, and teammate, Chris Tucker, smelled the smoke and knocked on Ellison's door to ask if he was okay. Ellison responded, "I'm good."
He wasn't good, and ultimately jumped from his third floor apartment.
Nelson said that in the past few days, Ellison had been acting strangely. Most noticeably he showed up an hour and a half late for practice on Tuesday, which Nelson said is totally out of character.
Friday, nelson learned that Ellison had sent an email to a member of the Shock organization saying that he was Jesus Christ, and part of a second coming.
"To hear his claim that not only was he a part of it, but that he felt divinely inspired light the flames, that's just kind of horrifying," Nelson said.
For now, nelson said the team is trying to focus on Saturday night's home game against the Utah Blaze.
They're hoping that Ellison gets the help he needs.
Ellison is facing federal arson charges, which is unusual, but because the apartment complex he set fire to is owned by a national company, the jurisdiction falls to federal agents.