New York Giants star receiver Plaxico Burress was arrested on Monday on two counts of illegal firearms possession after acidentally shooting himself at a nightclub.
“Plaxico Burress was arrested on charges of criminal possession of a weapon,” a spokeswoman for the New York Police Department said on Monday.
Burress, who caught the winning touchdown pass in the Giants’ Super Bowl victory this year, walked into a Manhattan police station with his lawyer and surrendered, she said.
A judge at Manhattan Criminal Court set bail for Buress at US$100,000 and ordered the 31-year-old to attend a hearing on March 31, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said.
Television footage showed the wide receiver wearing a dark jacket with an open-necked white shirt as he was led from the police station to court in handcuffs.
Burress’ high-profile attorney Benjamin Brafman, who has previously defended hip-hop star Sean Combs, said a not guilty plea would be entered.
The superstar’s troubles began late on Friday at New York’s Latin Quarter nightclub, where he apparently shot himself accidentally in the right leg.
The bullet apparently caused only a flesh wound — missing bones and arteries — and he did not appear to limp during his public appearance on Monday.
According to police, Burress had gone to the VIP section of the club with a drink when his pistol, tucked in the waistband of his trousers, discharged once, making a “pop” sound.
An “informant then observed [the] defendant’s legs begin to shake,” the criminal complaint quoted an investigating detective as saying.
A pistol the fell to the floor and the “informant further observed that there was blood on said pistol,” the complaint read.
The Giants, who are the defending Super Bowl champions, have not yet said how the scandal will affect Burress’ future. He signed a US$35 million, five-year contract with the NFL team this season.
“Discussions will be ongoing,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin told NY1 television.
New York media outlets are reporting that Burress attempted to flee the scene of the accident, hide the pistol and seek treatment under an assumed identity.
There are also newspaper reports alleging that a Giants teammate helped him in an attempted cover-up.
City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that Burress should get no special treatment.
“I think it would be an outrage if we didn’t prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” Bloomberg said in a televised press conference.
He said that sports personalities were “role models for our kids.”
Bloomberg also lashed out at the hospital where Burress was treated for not immediately notifying police about treating a gunshot wound.
Although Burress allegedly had no New York permit for carrying a weapon, US media reported that this was common practice among security-conscious sports stars.