Chad Wheeler, an offensive lineman with the Seattle Seahawks, was charged with domestic assault on Wednesday after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend, strangling and beating her until she fell unconscious, prosecutors said.
The 27-year-old is facing one count of first-degree domestic violence assault, one count of unlawful imprisonment, and another count of resisting arrest after he "viciously attacked the victim in her bedroom," prosecutors said in court records.
Before charges were filed in court on Wednesday, the Seattle Seahawks announced they had dropped Wheeler from their roster after the arrest.
"The Seahawks are saddened by the details emerging against Chad Wheeler and strongly condemn this act of domestic violence," the team said in a statement. "Chad is a free agent and no longer with the team."
Wheeler, who joined the Seahawks in 2020 from the New York Giants, was arrested Saturday after a woman called police to an apartment in the city of Kent, telling a 911 dispatcher she was being "killed," the Seattle Times reported.
According to court records, Wheeler is accused of strangling the woman with both his hands and, at one point, forcing his fingers down her throat while continuing to squeeze her throat with one hand.
The woman told police she was strangled until she lost consciousness and, when she woke up, Wheeler strangled her again until she passed out a second time.
When she woke up again, according to prosecutors, the 310-pound Wheeler stood over her in the bedroom and calmly told her, "Oh, you're still alive."
The woman told police the violence began when Wheeler, who she said has bipolar disorder and had not taken his medication, asked her to bow to him, the Times reported. When she didn't, he allegedly threw her on the bed.
The woman was able to call police after regaining consciousness and locking herself in a bathroom.
The woman then began to text her friends and family, as well as Wheeler's father, asking them to call 911 because she was afraid of Wheeler hearing her call police.
Police reported hearing screaming when they forced their way into the apartment, finding Wheeler and the victim inside the bathroom.
According to court records, Wheeler began to apologize to her in the bathroom, while police could hear her screaming inside. Police then broke down the bathroom door.
Wheeler is accused of refusing the officers' commands and was tased at least once but "with little effect," authorities said.
"Sorry!" police reported Wheeler yelling at the victim, telling her he loved her and saying, "I don't beat women."
The woman was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for a broken and dislocated arm. Prosecutors noted she had bruises on her neck, and that she vomited "large amounts of blood" the day after the attack.
"The defendant, who is physically conditioned and trained to compete at the highest level of professional sports, strangled, suffocated, and beat the victim into unconsciousness — twice — both times leaving her for dead as blood poured from her nose and mouth, and into her stomach and lungs," prosecutors said in court records.
Jail records indicate Wheeler was booked at King County jail at 1:19 a.m. Saturday. He was released Tuesday morning after posting a $400,000 bail.
In a series of tweets, Wheeler said the incident was a result of "a manic episode" and that he felt "truly ashamed." He also indicated he would be stepping away from football for the time being.
"I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that I have caused," he wrote in a tweet thread. "I apologized profusely for the turmoil that I have caused to my family, teammates, fans and those closest to me."
Wheeler added that his girlfriend was getting "the care she needs" and he would also be seeking help.
"It's time for me to walk away from football and get the help I need to never again pose a threat to another," he wrote. "I cannot express my sorrow or remorse enough. I am truly ashamed."