Adelaide Crows AFL coach killed at home; son arrested

Phil Walsh's son charged with murder
Phil Walsh's son charged with murder

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Story highlights

  • Phil Walsh, 55, treated for multiple stab wounds but died at the scene
  • Victim's 26-year-old son, who lived with Walsh and his wife, has been charged with murder
  • Walsh previously said his obsession with the sport had caused a "disconnect" with his son

(CNN)The head coach of Australian Football League club Adelaide Crows was killed at his home early Friday morning, according to a statement released by the South Australian Police.

After being called to a domestic disturbance at around 2 a.m. local time, ambulance crews treated Phil Walsh, 55, for multiple stab wounds but he died at the scene. The emergency medical crews alerted the police.
His 26-year-old son, who lived with Walsh and his wife, has been charged with murder. A knife, believed to have been used in the attack, was retrieved from the scene.
    Walsh's wife also sustained non-life-threatening injuries and is being treated at the Flinders Medical Centre in the city.

    Argument leads to stabbing

    "Police were able to establish that, around two o'clock, the son of the family had attended, there had been an argument... as a result of that Mr. Walsh and his wife received the wounds," Superintendent Des Bray, Officer in Charge, Major Crime Detectives, told reporters.
    Walsh's son was arrested on a street around 2.5 km (1.5 miles) a short time later and is being detained, also at Flinders, for a psychiatric assessment.
    "It's not even that he is a high-profile person, it's just absolutely terrible when families are torn apart in such tragic circumstances. For any family, regardless of who it is, it is one of the worst things that you could imagine would happen to you," Bray added.
    "The only difference with this (case) is that he has a high profile. The pain and suffering is no different."

    Obsession leads to "disconnect"

    In an interview with Australian newspaper the Herald Sun in April, Walsh said that his obsession with the sport had caused a "disconnect" with his son.
    "I just immersed myself, got consumed and was selfish with as much time I committed to footy," he is quoted as saying. "I lost that connection and I'm trying to reconnect with my son, which I have done."
    He said in the interview that his job made relationships with those close to him difficult.
    "I used to shut down all relationships because it was too hard to be in the moment with people, hard to be in their moment," he said.

    Club "devastated"

    The Adelaide Football Club posted a short statement saying the organization is "devastated" at Walsh's passing.
    "We ask if you could please respect the privacy of his family, as well as our players, coaches and staff, at this extremely difficult time," it added.
    Australian Football League chief executive Gillon McLachlan was among those to pay tribute to the coach, who had previously worked at Geelong, West Coast and Port Adelaide in coaching capacities, as well as playing stints at Collingwood, Richmond and the Brisbane Bears in a 32-year career in Australian Rules football.
    He had yet to complete his first year as head coach at the Crows.
    "Phil Walsh was a man of boundless energy and enthusiasm, and his death is a tragic loss," McLachlan said.
    "At this time, the AFL is working closely with the Adelaide Football Club on the support required to the staff and players of the Crows."

    Match canceled

    The club's scheduled clash against the Geelong Cats on Sunday has been abandoned in light of the tragedy, with the two teams receiving two points each, the same as for a draw.
    "This is a decision of the competition as a remark of respect to Phil Walsh," McLachlan said at an AFL press conference Friday afternoon.
    "It is our decision, because while playing footy can be part of the grieving process, we are strongly of the few that it is not fair to ask the young men of the Adelaide Crows or the Geelong Cats to play in these circumstances.
    "This decision has the support of the clubs and the players' association."
    The other AFL games for the round will go ahead.