JONESBORO, Ark. -- Arkansas State leading scorer Adrian Banks has been suspended indefinitely from the Indians basketball team following his arrest early Sunday for firing a gun within Jonesboro city limits.
Banks, 21, did not accompany the team to Evanston, Ill., for Monday night's 20-point loss to Northwestern. He has averaged 21.7 points per game this season for the Indians (2-4) and, last Thursday, Banks hit a 17-foot jumper as time expired for a 71-69 victory over Tennessee-Martin.
Jonesboro police said Banks was arrested at 2:35 a.m. Sunday after he allegedly fired several shots from a handgun into the air. Two officers nearby heard the shots and made a traffic stop, pulling over a vehicle with five Arkansas State athletes inside. None of the other athletes were named in the police report.
The people in the car denied there was a handgun in the vehicle, but a police search turned up a firearm in the back seat. Banks then told officers the gun "nothing to do with the other occupants," according to the report.
Banks told police that he found the gun at a nightclub where a fight was breaking out.
"I found the gun on the ground and didn't want anyone to get shot, so I shot the gun until it was empty," Banks said, according to the police report.
Banks told The Jonesboro Sun he was sorry about the incident and that he exercised poor judgment.
"I just really want to say that what happened last night was a stupid incident, it was a mistake," Banks said. "It was nothing like I was out there shooting at someone or anything. It wasn't my weapon or anything. I just found the gun, and I was really trying to protect my teammates from anything happening. It wasn't like I was shooting at someone or was involved in anything. That's pretty much the way it was. I just want to apologize to my school, my coaches and my parents and everyone involved."
Jonesboro police Officer Adam Williams said he believes Banks wasn't shooting at anyone.
In a statement Sunday night, Arkansas State said Banks is suspended indefinitely.
"Our policies concerning violations of team rules have never changed, regardless of a player's role on our team or how good they are," coach Dickey Nutt said in a news release. "We have team rules in place that apply to everyone on the team, and if those rules are broken we will gather all the facts surrounding the violation and then move forward accordingly, which is what we are doing here."
Banks is to appear before Craighead County District Judge Keith Blackman at 1 p.m. on Dec. 10. Banks posted bond and was released from custody.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press