- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2006

Former Maryland basketball star Lonny Baxter was arrested early yesterday in the District on weapons charges after a witness reported shots fired within blocks of the White House.

Uniformed Secret Service agents arrested Baxter, 27, shortly after 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of 17th and I streets NW and charged him with carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition.

Baxter’s passenger, Francis I. Martin, 35, faces the same charges.

Baxter is being held without bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning in D.C. Superior Court.

Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said a witness flagged down an agent and reported shots fired from a white SUV. According to Superior Court documents, officers stopped the vehicle within 10 minutes, ordered Baxter and Martin out and “in plain view, the officer saw two shell casings on the rear floorboard.”

Officers also found a .40 caliber pistol that contained six rounds matching the empty shell casings in the vehicle’s center console, according to court documents. Another officer found a projectile that matched the gun at 17th and K streets NW.

It is uncertain if Baxter fired any of the shots.

“At this point it’s not clear who fired or why they fired or what they were firing at,” Zahren said.

The former college star remains popular with Maryland fans for helping the Terrapins reach the 2001 and 2002 Final Fours and win the school’s first national championship in 2002. He was named to the Wooden Award’s All-America team in 2002, and his name and jersey No. 35 are on one of several banners hanging from the rafters at Comcast Center.

Maryland athletic department officials and basketball coach Gary Williams declined to comment yesterday on Baxter’s arrest.

Baxter was an unheralded recruit who graduated from Anacostia High School in Southeast in 1997 and then spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound center gained a starting position late in his freshman year at Maryland and retained it for the rest of his career.

A two-time NCAA tournaent regional MVP, Baxter ranks second in school history in rebounds (998), fourth in blocked shots (227) and sixth in points (1,858). He capped his career with a 15-point, 14-rebound performance to help Maryland defeat Indiana in the 2002 national title game.

The Chicago Bulls then selected Baxter in the second round of the NBA Draft. Baxter’s circuitous journey as a reserve over the last four seasons also includes stops in Toronto, Washington, New Orleans, Houston and Charlotte.

Baxter, who has averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in 162 career NBA games, split last season between Houston and Charlotte and became a free agent after the season. He signed earlier this month with Italian club Montepaschi Siena.

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