NBA’s Chris Copeland Stabbed, 2 Atlanta Hawks Arrested for Obstruction

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(CNN) — Chris Copeland of the Indiana Pacers was stabbed after leaving a trendy New York nightclub early Wednesday, and two Atlanta Hawks — who had just finished a home game hours before the incident — were among those arrested, according to police and CNN affiliates.

Embargo: New York Chris Copeland of the Indiana Pacers was stabbed outside a trendy New York nightclub early Wednesday, and two Atlanta Hawks -- who had just finished a home game hours before the incident -- were among those arrested, according to police and CNN affiliates. (CNN)

Embargo: New York
Chris Copeland of the Indiana Pacers was stabbed outside a trendy New York nightclub early Wednesday, and two Atlanta Hawks — who had just finished a home game hours before the incident — were among those arrested, according to police and CNN affiliates. (CNN)

The Hawks were not involved in the stabbing incident, police said, but were arrested on obstruction and other charges later.

Though New York Police Department Det. Kelly Ort initially told CNN the incident occurred just before 4 a.m. at 1OAK, a club in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood known to draw celebrities among its clientele, the club later told CNN that the stabbing occurred in front of the Fulton Houses project down the street.

“1OAK staff was unaware of the incident when it happened, as it occurred beyond their view in a different location. However, 1OAK’s team assisted Mr. Copeland to their fullest capabilities, and called for help as soon as he was seen walking back towards the venue,” the statement said.

The statement continued, “A review of the video footage seems to reveal the incident did not originate from the venue or its immediate surroundings that are under 1OAK supervision.”

Copeland and a female companion, Katrine Saltara, were in the club for about 10 minutes before leaving and walking down the street toward Fulton Houses, where their car was parked, said a 1OAK spokesperson. The spokesperson gave CNN additional details on condition of anonymity because 1OAK’s legal team had approved only the club’s official statement.

The suspect, who the spokesperson said never entered 1OAK, stabbed Copeland and Saltara in front of Fulton Houses, and according to the club’s statement, “Mr. Copeland’s driver sprang to accost and detain the apparent perpetrator and that individual is now in police custody.”

Charges against the suspect are pending, and his name will be released once charges are filed, Ort said.

Copeland and Saltara tried to make their way back to the club to seek help from the 20 or so security personnel on hand, leaving a “bloody trail of handprints” between the site of the stabbing and the club, the spokesperson said. Copeland “almost landed right next to the club,” the spokesperson said, adding that surveillance footage will not show the actual stabbing because it occurred too far away from the club.

The club shut down immediately after the incident, the spokesperson said.

A male and two females were taken to area hospitals, Ort said. A knife was recovered, a suspect was arrested and two individuals not involved in the dispute — the Hawks’ Pero Antic, 32, and Thabo Sefolosha, 30 — were arrested on charges of obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, she said.

Sefolosha faces an additional charge of resisting arrest, Ort said.

“We will contest these charges and look forward to communicating the facts of the situation at the appropriate time,” the players said in a joint statement released by the team. “We apologize to our respective families, teammates, and the Hawks’ organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon them.”

The Hawks are in New York for a Wednesday night game against the Brooklyn Nets. Neither player will be in uniform, the team said.

Word of the stabbing quickly spread through the club, reaching Antic and Sefolosha, who went outside to check on their friend, Copeland, a 1OAK spokesperson said. At one point, the two began pushing their way through a crowd that had gathered around the scene, leading to their arrests, the spokesperson said.

Police released little information Wednesday morning, but local media identified the injured man as Copeland, 31, who is from Orange, New Jersey.

The Pacers released a statement saying Copeland suffered a knife wound to his left elbow and abdomen, and he’s in stable condition at a New York hospital.

“We are aware that Chris Copeland was injured early this morning in New York City. We are still gathering information and will update when we know more. Our thoughts are with Chris and those injured,” Larry Bird, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, said in a statement.

Copeland’s agent, John Spencer, issued a statement saying, “We’re concerned about the safety of Chris and Katrine. We don’t have any details at this particular time. All we can do is pray and wait.”

The NBA and the Hawks front office said they were looking into the incident.

“We are aware of the situation involving Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha this morning. We are in the process of gathering more information and will have further comment at the appropriate time,” Hawks spokesman Garin Narain said in an email.

Copeland’s Pacers are slated to play the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.

The pair apparently had only recently arrived in New York prior to their arrests, as both were on the court for the Hawks’ 96-69 win over the Phoenix Suns in Atlanta on Tuesday night. Antic played 12 minutes, and Sefolosha played 20. The game ended around 10 p.m.

Copeland, a former Knick, was near the nightclub with Saltara when a 22-year-old Brooklyn man approached them, police told CNN affiliate WABC.

There was some sort of dispute before the suspect stabbed the 6-foot-8-inch Copeland in the abdomen, slashed Saltara and then slashed another woman, the station reported.

Saltara suffered cuts to her arm, breast and buttock, and the other woman suffered a slash to her stomach, CNN affiliate WCBS reported. While WCBS reported that the second woman was 53 years old, WABC reported she was 23.

Images published in the New York Daily News showed a considerable amount of blood on the sidewalk and a white sports coupe, roped off with police tape, with several streaks of blood on its driver’s side.

Antic and Sefolosha interfered with officers trying to establish a crime scene, and one of the Hawks pushed a police officer, WABC reported.

The Hawks are preparing for a historic playoff run after clinching the No. 1 seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Tuesday’s win over the Suns marked a franchise-best 58 wins in a season for the club. The Pacers sit in the conference’s 10th spot but are only one game out of playoff contention.

By Eliott C. McLaughlin

CNN’s Laura Ly, Jason Durand and Jill Martin contributed to this report.