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Arizona State Player Arrested in Shooting

Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page E04

Arizona State running back Loren Wade was arrested yesterday on suspicion of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a former ASU football player.

Police said Brandon Falkner, 25, of Tempe, Ariz., was shot in the head about 2:30 a.m. yesterday morning as he sat in his car outside Club CBNC, a nightspot in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Roger Federer extends his hot streak to 43-1 after routing Olivier Rochus at the Nasdaq-100. (Luis M. Alvarez -- AP)

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Scottsdale police detective Sam Bailey said Falkner and Wade exchanged words before the shot was fired.

Wade was driving a car with three others when he went to the club to pick up his girlfriend, Haley van Blommestein, who played soccer at Arizona State until 2003.

Bailey said Wade saw her standing next to Falkner's car, got out of his car, exchanged words with Falkner and fired once.

Falkner tried to drive away, but crashed into another car, then hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn.

"From everything I've heard, they didn't know each other," Bailey said.

Wade was arrested by Maricopa County sheriff's deputies who were working as security guards at the club.

"We have more than enough witnesses," Bailey said.

Football coach Dirk Koetter canceled the team's first spring practice in pads later in the day.

Falkner, a defensive back, was a three-year letterman who played in 26 games for the Sun Devils from 1999 to 2001.

Wade, 21, from Los Angeles, started the first three games for Arizona State as a sophomore last season. In 2003, Wade broke the school freshman rushing record with 773 yards.

TENNIS: Top-ranked Roger Federer began a bid for his first Nasdaq-100 Open title by beating Olivier Rochus, 6-3, 6-1, in Key Biscayne, Fla. Federer, whose best finish at Key Biscayne was as the runner-up to Andre Agassi in 2002, won his 17th match in a row. He's 43-1 since the start of the U.S. Open last August.

Six-time champion Agassi won his opening match, beating Paul-Henri Mathieu, 7-5, 6-4, and appears fully recovered from a sore toe that forced him to withdraw from the Pacific Life Open last week.

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