Pacman Jones could face misdemeanors, felony
|Adam "Pacman" Jones has lived two lives -- a brilliant one on the football field and a troubled one off of it. Which will he choose? Greg Garber reports. Story|
Police in Las Vegas said on Monday that they will recommend to the city's district attorney that Jones be charged with one count of felony coercion and also misdemeanor counts of battery and threat to life.
The charges stem from a melee that began inside the Minxx Gentlemen's Club and escalated to a triple shooting at 5 a.m. on Feb. 19. One man was left paralyzed.
Lt. George Castro said detectives haven't determined who fired the shots that wounded three people outside the Las Vegas club during the NBA All-Star Game weekend.
Castro said the request for charges will be submitted to Clark County district attorney David Roger no later than the end of the week. Roger will be asked to consider charges against 23-year-old Jones; Robert Reid, 37, of Carson, Calif.; and Sadia Morrison, 24, of New York. Castro described Reid and Morrison as friends of Jones.
"These three people were involved in the altercation inside the club. We're still working on the shooting outside the club," Castro said.
No arrest warrants have been issued, and an investigation will continue into whether another person might have been involved and fired the shots.
Roger, quoted in the Tennessean, said his "best guess" was that a case would be filed within the next two weeks.
"It took approximately five weeks to investigate this and it's not something we took lightly," Castro said. "We had to look at a lot of video and it came from five sources.
"You can only imagine what it was like that night, very violent, very chaotic, so some of the information we had was very sketchy."
Castro said that two full-time detectives and five part-time officers put in more than 500 hours investigating the incident.
Police recommended Reid face felony coercion and misdemeanor battery charges, Castro said. Morrison, arrested the morning of the shooting and charged with battery with a deadly weapon, a bottle, would face an additional felony coercion charge, Castro added.
Roger said he has reviewed some of the police investigation but it was "premature to comment on the merits of the case until I read all their reports."
The club's co-owner, Robert Susnar, has alleged that Jones was involved in the brawl that led to the gunfire and that he believes Jones knows the shooter. Lawyers for the player deny that claim.
"I feel for Pac and hope that all those things are not going to be proven true," Gary Wichard, who was Jones' agent when he was drafted in 2005, told ESPN.com.
"I don't know how many times you can hear those warning shots go past your head. I hope he sees this as a serious, serious time in his life. I hope he can rectify things and move forward. I think he knows he needs to change some things in his life."
One of Jones' attorneys, Manny Arora of Atlanta, told ESPN News that Jones was most concerned about the NFL's reaction to charges that have not yet been filed.
"He's reacting like anybody would, he's obviously very upset about it," Arora said. "He's got enough issues with the NFL threatening to take disciplinary action, then you throw this on top of it."
He said he was most concerned that a new player conduct policy being discussed by NFL owners would retroactively punish Jones.
"Our biggest concern is what the NFL is going to do, then we'll deal with an arrest if there is one in the future," Arora said.
Robert Langford, a Las Vegas-based lawyer for Morrison, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Police said they did not know if Reid had an attorney.
A police report states that Jones brought a trash bag of money into the club to distribute to dancers and that the money sparked a struggle. The amount of cash -- reportedly in dollar bills -- has been disputed by the parties.
Castro said witness accounts indicate that Jones at one point prevented a security officer from stopping the altercation, but Jones was reportedly not armed.
"Did he have a weapon? No, he did not," Castro said. "Was he an inciter, Yes, he was."
Two club security guards and an unidentified woman were wounded in the shooting. Guard Tom Urbanski, who was paralyzed from the waist down, was transferred last week to a rehabilitation hospital in Englewood, Colo. The other guard and the woman were not seriously wounded.
"I hope and pray and believe arrests will follow," said Matthew Dushoff, who represents 43-year-old guard Urbanski.
Titans officials, in Phoenix for the NFL owners' meetings, issued a statement.
"The club is deeply disturbed that the alleged conduct of one of its players has resulted in felony charges in one state and accusations of felony conduct in another state.
"Since the NFL is preparing to introduce a new player conduct policy, and since criminal charges and investigations are in progress, comment or speculation would be inappropriate. The club is currently reviewing its options with respect to the player."
The investigation of the melee in the bar has progressed further than the one into the subsequent shooting, Castro said.
"This is small steps we are taking," Castro said. "We're being patient."
ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Greg Garber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.