NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton was arrested Tuesday on three counts of criminal possession of a weapon, police said.
Felton, 29, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday on charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the second, third and fourth degrees. His bail was set as $25,000, along with a temporary order of protection for his estranged wife.
Felton turned himself in at 12:50 a.m., shortly after the Knicks lost to the Dallas Mavericks at home, police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Antonetti said.
If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison. He was to return to court on June 2.
Police said the felony charges don’t stem from Felton using the firearm in a menacing manner, but from possessing an unregistered and unlicensed gun.
In proffered allegations Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Rebold said prosecutors had learned Felton had an FN Herstal model 5.7 by 28mm semiautomatic pistol.
A divorce attorney for Felton’s wife brought the loaded Belgian-made pistol to the 20th Police Precinct on the Upper West Side around 7 p.m. Monday, claiming Ariane Raymondo-Felton didn’t want the weapon in her home, sources told 1010 WINS and CBS 2.
The weapon had 17 armor-piercing rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa confirmed.
Felton and his wife filed for divorce earlier this month, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported. They have been married for 19 months, CBS 2’s Otis Livingston reported.
Felton can still travel with the team and play basketball but has been ordered to stay away from his wife. His attorney said that Felton had no interest in having contact with her.
A Knicks spokesman said the team had no immediate comment. It was not clear if Felton had an attorney.
Fans at a sporting goods store in Times Square questioned Felton’s alleged actions.
“I’m an athlete myself. To look up to somebody like that and for him to disappoint us athletes that’s a bad influence,” Alieu Camara told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
Felton had eight points and seven assists Monday in the Knicks’ 110-108 loss to Dallas. The Knicks brought the point guard back for a second stint in New York in July 2012, opting to let Jeremy Lin leave, and Felton helped the Knicks win the Atlantic Division last year.
But he has had a disappointing season, averaging 10.4 points and shooting 40 percent while missing 16 games with a series of injuries. He has been frequently criticized by fans as the Knicks have fallen to 21-36.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league was monitoring the case. It could fine or suspend Felton but usually waits until after the legal case has been resolved.
The league did break from that policy to suspend Gilbert Arenas for the remainder of the season after he brought guns to the Washington Wizards’ locker room during the 2009-10 season. He was eventually sentenced to 30 days in a halfway house.
Felton is not the first pro athlete to run afoul of New York’s strict gun laws. Former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested in 2008 after accidentally shooting himself in a Manhattan nightclub. He served nearly two years in prison.
“We’re all knowledgeable of what happened. We’re all here to support, it will work itself out,” Burress said.
On Tuesday, former New York Knick John Starks offered words of support for Felton.
“We obviously, we’re behind Raymond, and we feel bad for the situation, but we don’t know the circumstances behind it, so we just kind of have to just wait to see what happens from this point, but you know, he’s family and we’re here to support him.”
Boxer Robert Guerrero was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport last year after he presented a locked gun box containing an unloaded handgun during check-in. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete 50 hours of community service.
In an interview Tuesday, Burress said he didn’t understand the nature of his crime until a few days after the incident. He said he didn’t know he couldn’t carry a gun in New York since it was registered in Florida.
The Knicks don’t have another game until Thursday night in Miami.
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