- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A man was shot at a party that Washington Redskins star linebacker LaVar Arrington played host to in Gambrills, Md., on Saturday.

James Sidney of Hyattsville was shot in the back about 1 a.m. Sunday as he apparently tried to break up a fight that occurred as the party was concluding. Lt. Joseph Jordan of the Anne Arundel County police said Sidney, who was working security at the party, is in serious but stable condition at Shock-Trauma Center at University Hospital in Baltimore and expected to recover.

Jordan said Arrington wasn’t involved in the shooting, which remains under investigation and in which no one has been charged.

“Over the weekend, there was an unfortunate incident where a security guard was injured following a party I hosted in Gambrills, Md., to conclude a series of charity events,” Arrington said in a statement released by the Redskins. “I had no involvement in the incident, and to my knowledge neither did any of the guests at the party. I feel terrible about the injury to the guard, who was only doing his job and pray he recovers quickly and fully.”

Anne Arundel County police first became aware of the party at 1729 Saddle Drive when neighbors called to report excessive noise before 8 p.m. Saturday. Jordan said Arrington identified himself to officers when they arrived at the house, which he was renting for the occasion from Lafa Inc., a real estate firm in Fort Washington. When police returned to the address about midnight, Jordan said Arrington agreed to end the party. Less than an hour later, police responded to a call about Sidney’s shooting.

State Sen. Janet Greenip, Republican-Crofton, who represents Gambrills, said she has been working with the county police, liquor board, zoning officials and community leaders to find a way to end the parties since she learned of their existence in March.

“No one has any business having a for-profit party in a residential community,” Greenip said of Lafa CEO Oladipo Olafunmiloye. “It’s very unfortunate that there was a shooting, but I’m hopeful that we can finally put a stop to these parties.”

The 18,000-square foot house, called the Gambrills Mansion, is situated on six acres and has a swimming pool, an elevator, seven bedrooms and 91/2 bathrooms. Hundreds of people attend each of the frequent parties that Lafa has permitted while listing the house for sale for $3.6 million. However, Lafa’s attorney, Michael Ron Worthy, said his client plans to occupy the house soon.

Worthy said Lafa “did not plan or organize” the party and was not responsible for security.

“We have been in full cooperation with local police authorities to assist in the prosecution of the perpetrator of this terrible crime,” Worthy said in a statement. “My client is very concerned about the incident that took place on his property and sends his deepest regards to the injured party that attended the event.”

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson, who played at Crossland High School in Temple Hills, was Arrington’s co-host at the party.

“It is … our understanding that Julian had nothing to do with the incident in question,” 49ers coach Mike Nolan said.

Arrington has said Peterson, against whom he competed while they were at rival Big Ten schools and who is represented by the same agents, is the NFL player he most likes to watch.

The shooting continued nine months of aggravation for Arrington, who missed 12 games last season following arthroscopic knee surgery. The three-time Pro Bowl pick needed a second surgery in April to repair lingering damage. When that news leaked, Arrington blasted the Redskins for not making him a priority and then stopped speaking to the media for reporting his criticisms.

Arrington also is facing a July 18 arbitration hearing regarding the $6.5 million in signing bonus he contends the Redskins owe him from a December 2003 contract renegotiation.

Redskins director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said last week that Arrington was progressing well in his latest rehabilitation but might not be fully ready for the start of training camp Aug. 1.

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