- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 14, 2004

GREENSBORO, N.C. — An off-duty Baltimore police detective was charged yesterday in connection with a gunshot that startled college basketball fans during a Maryland-Wake Forest game and left him wounded in the rear end.

Darren I. Sanders, described as a friend of Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, is accused of bringing a concealed pistol into Greensboro Coliseum, where the gun accidentally discharged late Friday night.

“I heard that a gun went off, is that right?” Maryland coach Gary Williams asked reporters yesterday morning during his postgame news conference. “My first reaction when I heard [the shot] was to get everybody off the floor. That was my first thought, of September11.”

Detective Sanders, 37, was released from a local hospital yesterday morning after being treated for a wound to his right buttock.

Greensboro police charged him with carrying a pistol into an assembly where admission is charged. No other injuries were reported, police said.

The incident occurred about 11:15 p.m. during the second half of the Maryland-Wake Forest quarterfinal game in the Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament.

Detective Sanders was sitting with Mr. Bisciotti, two rows behind the Wake Forest bench. Sen. John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat who recently bowed out of the presidential race, had sat just across the court hours earlier for the game between North Carolina and Georgia Tech.

The gunshot was heard on the playing floor, and police and paramedics rushed to assist Detective Sanders.

The pistol went off when the detective sat down after standing up to cheer, police said. He had adjusted the handgun, which did not have a manual safety, in its holster.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud pop and said they smelled gunpowder. The game, which the Terrapins won 87-86, was interrupted briefly.

“The referees did a good job keeping the situation away from what was happening on the floor,” Mr. Williams said.

Coliseum officials said they would use metal detectors at the gates for the rest of the tournament. Security had been checking only bags brought in by officials, spectators and the news media.

The Greensboro News & Observer reported that Mr. Bisciotti told officers at the scene: “He’s my bodyguard. He was sitting in front of me. I saw it go through [his body].”

But Kevin Byrne, vice president of public and community relations for the Ravens, said Detective Sanders is not the team owner’s bodyguard.

“First, the guy with him was not his bodyguard,” Mr. Byrne said of Mr. Bisciotti, a season-ticket holder at Maryland’s Comcast Center. “He’s a friend of Steve’s — a Baltimore detective who works security for Ravens home games and works on the road for us, too. He has become a friend of Steve’s.”

Mr. Byrne said Mr. Bisciotti told him that Detective Sanders “is fine, and it was an accident.”

Mr. Bisciotti and Detective Sanders, along with family and friends who were at the tournament with them, returned to Baltimore late yesterday afternoon, Mr. Byrne said.

“We commend the coliseum personnel, Greensboro police and the emergency-response personnel in their swift and efficient handling of the isolated incident,” the ACC said in a statement. “The ACC and the Greensboro Coliseum will continue to stress security and emergency medical procedures for the safety of its patrons.”

Baltimore police will investigate to determine whether Detective Sanders should be disciplined, spokesman Troy Harris said.

“The most that he’s going to look at is a citation,” Mr. Harris said.

This article is based in part on wire reports.

Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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