A defensive lineman with the Jacksonville Sharks was arrested in Columbus, Georgia, Sunday, accused of firing a gun in public in the hours after the team lost to the Columbus Lions.
The Columbus Police Department said Leon Mackey was charged with reckless conduct with a weapon and discharge of a gun near a public highway or street. He was booked into the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office Jail and released the same day.
The arrest report said video surveillance reviewed by officers showed Mackey firing a gun. He was arrested on Fourth Street and he was in possession of a Smith and Wesson 9mm. The report said that as he was taken into custody just before 1 a.m., he said, “It was an accident,” adding that the other team was talking down to him.
The Sharks released a statement saying Mackey fired shots into the air in the parking lot of the Columbus Civic Center after the two teens got into an altercation after the game.
“The Sharks organization and the National Arena League do not condone or approve of Mr. Mackey’s decision to utilize or carry a weapon during a team function, but do believe Mr. Mackey has a right to due process and is innocent until convicted of any charge,” the Sharks wrote.
Mackey was suspended by the league pending the outcome of the investigation. The Sharks said the team and the league were also reviewing all travel and arena security politics.
Jason Gibson, the head coach of the Columbus Lions, said that if Mackey played for his team, he would never play again.
“You can’t have a gun on a team bus. You can’t have a gun in the team locker room. You can’t have a gun at an event like that. You can’t do it,” Gibson told News4Jax.
It’s Mackey’s first year with the Sharks and his fifth year playing arena football, according to his team bio.
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