|Pacers' Jamaal Tinsley unhurt after shots fired at him and friends outside downtown Indy hotel|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 09 December 2007 11:29|
Tinsley was not injured.
Joey Qatato, identified as the team's equipment manager on the Pacers' Web site, was struck in both elbows as he sat with Tinsley in the player's Rolls Royce. The 48-year-old Qatato was taken to Methodist Hospital, where he was treated and released.
Police said the shooting involved an assault rifle and followed a confrontation when Tinsley and his companions were leaving the ``Cloud 9'' club.
``We're grateful that it happened at that time of day,'' Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Paul Thompson said. ``The streets are pretty bare that time of the morning.
``If it happened during rush hour, God knows what would have happened.''
Tinsley's group had arrived at the club in three cars owned by the player - a Mercedes, a Rolls Royce and a Dodge Charger. Thompson said a group of people gathered around the Rolls Royce and gave Tinsley a hard time about his cars and his earnings.
After Tinsley and friends left, they realized they were being followed by a gray Chrysler and a dark pickup truck, Thompson said.
Instead of going home, Tinsley's group pulled into the Conrad Hotel, a downtown luxury hotel, where the shooting began. Tinsley's Rolls Royce was struck by several bullets, and five bullet holes were found in the Charger, police said.
No one was injured in the Charger.
Two vehicles in Tinsley's group then followed the shooters in a chase, and Tinsley's brother, James, returned fire at the attackers, police said.
It was unknown whether anyone was hit, and Jamaal Tinsley was not involved in the chase, Thompson said.
Sunday's shooting is the latest in a string of violent crimes targeting professional athletes.
Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor died Nov. 27, a day after he was shot in the bedroom of his Miami home in what police have said was a botched burglary.
Over the summer, NBA players Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker were robbed just weeks apart in their Chicago-area homes. In September, two men broke into the home of Houston Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson, tying up the victim and stealing jewelry.
Authorities were called to the downtown Indianapolis hotel about 3:40 a.m. And Tinsley appeared to be the only Pacer in the group, which included his brother and several friends, Thompson said.
Police still were investigating and looking for the two vehicles. They have made no additional arrests, Thompson said.
The Indiana Pacers did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment. Tinsley's agent, Raymond Brothers, could not be reached for comment.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said: ``We are gathering details but before we know more, it's inappropriate for us to comment.''
Police arrested one person in Tinsley's group, Antoine Toon, on an outstanding warrant out of Georgia.
Tinsley and another Pacers player, Marquis Daniels, both face charges stemming from a bar fight almost a year ago.
A grand jury indicted Tinsley on a felony charge of intimidation and misdemeanor counts of battery, disorderly conduct and intimidation in connection with a Feb. 6 fight at the 8 Seconds Saloon. Daniels is charged with battery and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.
Their trial is scheduled to start Jan. 14.
According to a police report, the manager of the bar said Tinsley threatened to kill him during the fight. The confrontation with the players followed another fight involving a person who employees thought was trying to steal coats from the coat check area, police said.