Baltimore detective faces charges in N.C.

He's injured, released from hospital after pistol fires Friday at UM game

College Basketball

March 14, 2004|By Paul McMullen and Greg Garland | Paul McMullen and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Maryland's visit to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament was marred by a bizarre self-inflicted accidental shooting involving an off-duty Baltimore City police detective late Friday night.

Darren I. Sanders, 37, has done security work for the Ravens, and he was in the traveling party of Ravens minority owner Steve Bisciotti, one of the Terps' most prominent boosters. Sanders faces misdemeanor charges after the incident, which occurred midway through the second half of the Terps' upset over Wake Forest in the quarterfinals.

Sanders, a homicide detective who has served 16 years on the city police force, was seated in the second row behind the scorer's table when a handgun tucked into his waistband accidentally discharged at about 11:15 p.m., Greensboro Police Capt. Gary Hastings said.

Sanders was taken to a local hospital, treated for wounds to his hip and released, according to a Greensboro police spokeswoman. He traveled to his Ellicott City home yesterday, but he'll have to return to Greensboro, N.C., on April 27 to answer the charge of unlawfully bringing a pistol into an assembly where admission is charged, Hastings said.

A woman who answered the phone at Sanders' home yesterday said he was not available and declined further comment.

Earlier, Sanders explained to the Greensboro News and Record why he didn't overly react after the accident.

"I was just trying not to cause a scene," Sanders said. "I didn't want a lot of people to think it was more than it was. I didn't want the police thinking anything crazy was happening."

With a little more than 12 minutes remaining in Friday's game, a loud pop was heard behind the scorer's table. Sanders, wearing a New York Yankees cap, was treated by emergency medical technicians. Bisciotti accompanied him to the hospital, and did not return to the Coliseum on Friday night.

"Everything we've discovered so far indicates that this was an accident - an unfortunate one, but an accident," said Hastings.

Sanders faces a fine of up to $500 and a jail term of no more than two years, Hastings said.

Baltimore City police will conduct an investigation of the incident to determine if Sanders violated any departmental policies, according to police department spokesman Troy Harris.

"We are looking into the matter to see if there needs to be any discipline," Harris said. "No wrongdoing has been determined from our side yet."

Early yesterday morning, a Greensboro police spokesman relayed information that Sanders was Bisciotti's bodyguard. A Ravens official said that was inaccurate.

"He [Sanders] has worked security at Ravens games, and at Ravens games on the road," Kevin Byrne said. "He was down at the tournament with Steve, and some of his family and friends.

"It was an accident, and my friend is fine," Bisciotti said in a statement released by the Ravens."

The incident twice held up play momentarily, but Maryland coach Gary Williams praised the game officials for keeping the focus on the court.

"The officials did a great job of keeping the players focused on what was happening on the court, and not what was happening off of it," Williams said. "My first reaction when I heard it go off was to get everyone off the floor. That was my first thought, of Sept. 11."

Sun staff writer Ryan Davis contributed to this article.

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