Concerns Run Deep For Walker Following Robbery

By: ESPN.com News Services
By: ESPN.com News Services

As Miami coach Pat Riley expressed relief over the news that Heat forward Antoine Walker was not injured during a robbery at the player's Chicago home, Walker's mother said her son is coping as best he can.

"Antoine called me after the incident was going on. He was hysterical on the phone when I first talked to him," Walker's mother, Diane, said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune Tuesday.

Riley said he has not spoken with Walker, and the player has not been interviewed. Walker and one of his relatives were held at gunpoint while multiple robbers took a car, cash and jewelry from the three-time All-Star's offseason residence Monday night.

"[It's] devastating for a parent to go through ... to know your child had been treated that way," Diane Walker told The Tribune. "We are just grateful he was not injured, that he is still here. God blesses us every day, every minute of the day."

Authorities have not provided specific details about the robbery. The Tribune, citing an unidentified source, said the assailants entered Walker's $4.1 million home in Chicago's River North neighborhood through the garage, ordered Walker into the house, and held a handgun to his head as his ankles and wrists were bound with duct tape. The intruders reportedly were wearing masks and shielding their eyes.

"He acted as if he knew Antoine and was talking to him about knowing the consequences of the robbery," the source told the newspaper. Walker was able to free himself from the tape after the robbery.

The source also told The Tribune that Walker, a Chicago native, has been packing his belongings.

"He's gone, baby," the source said.

Riley said he's spoken to Walker's agent, Mark Bartelstein, who told the coach that Walker is OK.

"It's what it is. It had to be a terrifying ordeal for him," Riley said Tuesday night. "Until I speak with him, I don't have any knowledge other than what I've heard from other people."

The vehicle taken in the robbery was found, abandoned, in Chicago on Tuesday morning. Police have not announced any arrests in the case.

According to The Tribune, Walker's neighborhood includes multimillion-dollar residences owned by the likes of actor Vince Vaughn and Juanita Jordan, the ex-wife of Michael Jordan. High-tech security equipment, as well as regular Chicago police patrols, protect the area, the newspaper said.

Three policemen, who arrived at the home to investigate in the early afternoon, declined to comment for The Tribune, as did several of Walker's associates.

In July 2000, Walker -- then a member of the Boston Celtics -- was the victim of an armed robbery along with NBA center Nazr Mohammed as they sat in a vehicle waiting for a restaurant on Chicago's South Side to open. Police said at the time that three men approached and demanded cash and valuables, which included a $55,000 wristwatch.

Walker averaged 8.5 points with Miami this past season and was a key part of the Heat's run to the NBA championship the year before.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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