Copeland, girlfriend stabbed outside NY nightclub
NEW YORK (AP) — Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland, his girlfriend and another woman were stabbed early Wednesday following an argument on the street near a Manhattan nightclub that also led to the arrest of two Atlanta Hawks players, authorities said.
The violence erupted just before 4 a.m. outside 1Oak Club, a trendy Chelsea spot where celebs such as Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg mingle with partygoers, police said.
The couple was arguing on the street as the attacker eavesdropped and started to interfere, according to police. The dispute escalated until the 22-year-old suspect pulled out a knife and started slashing, police said. Copeland’s driver grabbed the suspect and held him until officers arrived.
The suspect, Shezoy Bleary, was in custody, authorities said. Police said charges were pending, and it wasn’t clear whether Bleary had an attorney who could comment on them.
Copeland, 31, a former member of the New York Knicks, was stabbed in the left elbow and abdomen and Katrine Saltara was slashed in the arm and across the breast. The second woman, who was believed to be with the attacker, was slashed in the abdomen. The victims were hospitalized and in stable condition, police said. Police recovered a switchblade at the scene.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Copeland had surgery on his elbow and abdomen and would be hospitalized overnight. He added it wasn’t known yet if Copeland would miss the remainder of the season.
Hawks players Pero Antic, 33, and Thabo Sefolosha, 30, who were not with Copeland but were also at the club, were arrested after police said they blocked officers from trying to start their investigation.
The teammates were in town to play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
The team arrived late Tuesday, after beating the Phoenix Suns in Atlanta.
Antic and Sefolosha were released without bail after a brief court appearance where they were charged with obstructing governmental authority and disorderly conduct. Their attorney, Alex Spiro, said they did not commit any crime.
“They should not have been arrested. We fully expect the case to be dismissed,” he said.
The Hawks said neither Antic nor Sefolosha would play against the Nets. Sefolosha was limping during his court appearance and Spiro said he had been injured during the arrest. Coach Mike Budenholzer said the reserve would have his ankle checked.
The players issued a joint statement through the team, apologizing for any embarrassment they caused. The arrests were an unwanted distraction for a team that is less than two weeks away from starting the postseason.