|Pacers won't punish Jamaal Tinsley after downtown shooting|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 10 December 2007 09:40|
Tinsley met with coach Jim O'Brien and team president Larry Bird on Monday, a day after the player and several companions were targeted in the early Sunday shooting that wounded the team's equipment manager. Police say the shooting followed a confrontation at a nightclub.
O'Brien said the player has the right to stay out late, and if the situation is as Tinsley describes there will be no penalties. Tinsley was back at practice after the meeting, but Bird was not available.
Tinsley, who wasn't injured, apologized to his family, teammates and fans. He said he understands NBA players are targets and he will change the way he makes decisions.
``Of course, you worry about your fans and the community and how people look at you,'' he said. ``I made a stupid mistake, again.''
This was Tinsley's third late-night episode in about 14 months, and the latest in a three-year string of events that have engulfed the franchise.
Police said someone shot at the group with an assault rifle about 3:40 a.m. in front of the luxury Conrad Hotel. It followed a confrontation as Tinsley and his companions were leaving the ``Cloud 9'' club outside downtown.
Police arrested one person in Tinsley's group for an outstanding warrant in Georgia for dealing a controlled substance. No more arrests have been made and police said Monday they were still investigating.
This was the latest instance of the Pacers finding trouble - or trouble finding them.
The brawl with Detroit Pistons fans was the start. The Pacers also dealt with suspensions of Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson after the 2004 fight, and Indiana eventually traded both players.
Tinsley has found trouble most often. He was present when Jackson fired a gun into the air several times before he was hit by a car at an Indianapolis club in October 2006. He 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. Their trial is scheduled to start Jan. 14.
Bird told Pacers.com Sunday this wasn't something the organization could ignore.
``It's something we'll have to discuss. I don't know how long it'll take and we'll continue to talk about it. We have to make a change, there's no question about it,'' he said.
Tinsley's group had arrived at the club in three cars owned by the player - a Mercedes, a Rolls Royce and a Dodge Charger. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Paul Thompson said a group gathered around the Rolls Royce and gave Tinsley a hard time about his cars and his earnings.
After Tinsley and his entourage left, they realized they were being followed by a car and a pickup truck, Thompson said.
Instead of going home, Tinsley's group pulled into the Conrad 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. Thompson said Tinsley's vehicles were struck by shots from a .223 assault rifle.
``That's a heck of a weapon to unleash downtown without there being collateral damage,'' Thompson 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, fired at the attackers with a 9 millimeter handgun, police said. James Tinsley, who has a gun permit, hasn't been charged because the matter is still under investigation, police said.
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 Rolls Royce. The 48-year-old Qatato was taken to Methodist Hospital, where he was treated and released.