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NBA Star Gilbert Arenas Meets With D.C. U.S. Atty; Says Gun Incident was Misguided Joke

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Washington Wizards basketball star Gilbert Arenas voluntarily met Monday afternoon with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington and D.C. police to “explain the circumstances surrounding the presence of his unloaded firearms at the Verizon Center last month,” his attorney said in a statement.

Also on Monday, Areanas issued a statement through his attorney Kenneth L.  Wainstein, a former U.S. Attorney for D.C.:

“On Monday, December 21st, I took the unloaded guns out in a misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate. Contrary to some press accounts, I never threatened or assaulted anyone with the guns and never pointed them at anyone.”

Arenas had early on in the controversy told the media that he brought 4  guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker to get them out of his house and away from his children. But reports surfaced that he pulled a gun on a teammate. Another account by The New York Post stated that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittention pulled guns on one another.

The incident — and the relentless rumors that have accompanied it — has caused a stir in the media and created an unsettled feeling for the fans and the Wizards, a team that has not fared too well so far this year, and can hardly afford such a distraction. The Associated Press is reporting that two NBA officials briefed on the matter said the incident “stemmed from a dispute over card-playing gambling debts and a heated discussion in the locker room.”

The other player reportedly involved is Javaris Crittenton, whose agent has denied any wrongdoing on the part of his client, the AP reported.

In Monday’s  statement,  Arena’s lawyer Wainstein said: “From the outset of this incident, Mr. Arenas has been fully cooperative with the investigation. He acknowledged his possession of the guns when questioned by Washington Wizards team officials; he immediately offered and relinquished the guns to Wizards security personnel; and he had me proactively reach out to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and make an immediate self-disclosure about the guns.”

“Consistent with that cooperative approach, Mr. Arenas felt it important that we meet with law enforcement at the first possible opportunity so that he could tell the full story. Over the course of a two-hour interview this afternoon, Mr. Arenas answered every question asked of him.

“Mr. Arenas has been constrained in his public comment about these circumstances out of concern that he not do anything to interfere with the ongoing law enforcement investigation. Please understand that his public comments will continue to be limited as long as the investigation continues. Nevertheless, now that he has completed his interview, Mr. Arenas wishes to make the following statement about last month’s events and today’s interview.”

Along with the statement came Arenas’ statement:

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with law enforcement officials today. As the person who caused this trouble in the first place, I thought it was my duty to be the first witness to come forward and meet with the prosecutors and detectives. I told my attorney I wanted to get in for an interview as soon as we could arrange it, and that was today.

“I told the detectives and prosecutors the whole story about my storing the unloaded guns at the Verizon Center and what I was intending to do when I took them out of my locker on December 21st.

“As I have said before, I had kept the four unloaded handguns in my house in Virginia, but then moved them over to my locker at the Verizon Center to keep them away from my young kids. I brought them without any ammunition into the District of Columbia, mistakenly believing that the recent change in the DC gun laws allowed a person to store unloaded guns in the District.

“On Monday, December 21st, I took the unloaded guns out in a misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate. Contrary to some press accounts, I never threatened or assaulted anyone with the guns and never pointed them at anyone.

“Joke or not, I now recognize that what I did was a mistake and was wrong. I should not have brought the guns to DC in the first place, and I now realize that there’s no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns — even if unloaded.

“I am very sorry for the effect that my serious lapse in judgment has had on my team, my teammates, the National Basketball Association and its fans. I want to apologize to everybody for letting them down with my conduct, and I promise to do better in the future.

“I also want to thank the detectives and prosecutors on the case for the professionalism and courtesy they showed me during the interview today. I stand ready to continue to give my full cooperation to them and to the League as they investigate this incident.”


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