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Pokemon Go player says cops, guns drawn, mistook him for a robber

Iowa football player Faith Ekakitie says he's "thankful to be alive" after being searched at gunpoint by police while playing the popular app in a park.

It could've been much worse.

Iowa football player Faith Ekakitie, left, was playing Pokemon Go in a park when he was searched at gunpoint by police looking for a bank robber.

Matthew Holst, Getty Images

A US college football player wrote in a poignant post on Facebook that he feared for his life after being mistaken by police for a suspected bank robber and searched at gunpoint while playing Pokemon Go.

University of Iowa defensive end Faith Ekakitie's experience was a top trend Monday. The 290-pound senior was in an Iowa City park last Wednesday playing the immensely popular augmented reality game when a nearby bank was robbed. Ekakitie's post said he matched the police suspect description of a "large black male, wearing all black, with something on top of his head."

Wearing headphones, Ekakitie said he did not hear the officers commanding him to turn around and put his hands up.

"Today was the first time that I've truly feared for my life," he said.

As tensions remain high in the wake of police-involved fatal shootings across America, Ekakitie commented on the world's most popular social network that he was finding it hard to stay silent about his episode "with all of the crazy things that have been happening in our world."

"I am thankful to be alive, and I do now realize, that it very well could have been me, a friend of mine, my brother, your cousin, your nephew etc.," he said. "Misunderstandings happen all the time and just like that things can go south very quickly."

All of us, said Ekaktie, need to "unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society."

Iowa City police told the Press-Citizen newspaper Sunday they don't believe race played a factor when officers approached Ekakitie, given the suspect's description and location.

Ekakitie said it's extremely sad that society has "brainwashed" many to point where they can't feel safe when approached by the police.

"Not all police officers are out to get you, but at the same time, not all people who fit a criminal profile are criminals," he said.

Ekakitie concluded his post by thanking the Iowa City police for handling "a sensitive situation very professionally." He also urged people to more aware of their surroundings -- "clearly I wasn't."