D.C. police probe Gilbert Arenas's guns at Verizon Center
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The D.C. police department is investigating the circumstances surrounding Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas taking guns to Verizon Center this month, a police official said Monday.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said police are looking into the original account of the incident released by the team.
The District has strict laws that prohibit carrying guns, openly or concealed.
The NBA and the Wizards said Thursday that Arenas was being investigated by the league. In a statement, the team said that Arenas "stored firearms in a locked container in his locker, unloaded and without ammunition."
"The Wizards organization and Arenas promptly notified the local authorities and the NBA [and] are cooperating fully with law enforcement during its review of this matter," the team said. The Wizards issued the statement after the NBA probe was reported by CBSSports.com.
Through a team spokesman Monday, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld declined to comment. Wizards players, coaches and front-office personnel have been placed under strict orders not to make any comments regarding the investigation, according to multiple sources on or close to the team.
The NBA allows players to possess guns, but under the collective bargaining agreement between players and the league they cannot have weapons at league facilities.
Arenas has not been charged with a crime, but he could face a fine or suspension after the investigation is completed. "We're obviously taking something like this very seriously," one league official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Arenas initially said that he took the guns to the arena after deciding that he no longer wanted them in his home after the birth of his third child. The girl, Hamiley Penny, was born Dec. 9.
In a text message Thursday, Arenas said he had already turned his guns over to police. A person familiar with the situation said that the weapons were registered and that Arenas gave them to team security officials last week.
Arenas, a three-time all-star, is in the second-year of a six-year contract worth $111 million. Back in action this year after missing most of the past two seasons because of an injury to his left knee, Arenas is averaging a team-best 22.4 points and 6.9 assists.
He scored 26 points with nine assists in a 101-89 loss to Minnesota on Saturday and said afterward that the investigation was not a distraction.
"If you want it to be, there is. Not with me," he said.
Arenas has a prior weapons charge and was suspended for the season opener in 2004-2005 after he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges for possessing a concealed weapon and driving without a license in 2003.
Lee reported from Memphis.