Lefeged of Indianapolis Colts ordered released after gun charge

Indianapolis Colts safety Joe Lefeged was ordered released from the D.C. jail Tuesday following his arrest Saturday on charges of possessing a semiautomatic pistol.

At Lefeged’s preliminary hearing Tuesday morning, Magistrate Judge Frederick Sullivan ordered the 25-year-old football player released but said he was “bothered” by some of the details of the case.

Information about Lefeged’s arrest was released during the brief hearing, including allegations that the gun was loaded and that Lefeged had been using drugs. Lefeged, who was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2011, was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered handgun, unlawful possession of ammunition, having a gun in a car and having an open container of alcohol.

Police said Lefeged was arrested after he tried to run from the police. A .40-caliber gun was found under the front passenger seat of a Chevrolet Camaro convertible, which police said they saw speeding with a back-seat passenger standing up.

During the hearing, prosecutor Ben Schrader argued against Lefeged’s release, emphasizing that police said he fled from the vehicle and that the gun had a round in its chamber and 12 rounds in its magazine. Schrader also said Lefeged had been using drugs, though the prosecutor did not say what type of drugs were involved. “This is a combination of drugs and guns,” Schrader said.

U.S. marshals escorted Lefeged into the courtroom. His wrists and ankles were shackled and he was wearing an orange jail jumpsuit. Lefeged’s family and friends filled two rows of benches on one side of the courtroom.

Sullivan ordered Lefeged’s release but said Lefeged’s decision to flee “bothers me more than anything.” Sullivan ordered Lefeged not to possess any weapons or drugs while he was on release. “If you get caught with any weapons or drugs, you are going to jail,” Sullivan said.

Lefeged’s attorney, David Schert­ler, said that his client had recently had surgery, which he said was the reason for the drugs. Schertler also argued that Lefeged had no prior felony convictions and that Colts’ management had referred to their player as “exemplary.”

No follow-up court date was set. Prosecutors said the case was being referred to a grand jury.

Lefeged attended Northwest High School in Germantown. In 2006, The Washington Post named Lefeged, then a linebacker, the All-Met Defensive Player of the Year. The Post noted that no player had been used in more diverse ways; Lefeged also played running back, wide receiver and quarterback and returned punts and kickoffs in high school.

He went to Rutgers University, where he started at strong safety for three years and returned kicks. Last year, he was credited with 25 tackles and one fumble recovery for Indianapolis, and he led the Colts with 16 special-team tackles, according to team statistics. He played in his first playoff game in January, getting two tackles and forcing a fumble against the Baltimore Ravens.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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