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Fresno Players Arrested After Victory in NIT

COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

College basketball: Jones kicked off team and Brunner suspended indefinitely after assault and theft charges.

March 18, 1998|GREG SANDOVAL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Avondre Jones and Kenny Brunner, members of the Fresno State basketball team from Los Angeles, were arrested Tuesday morning for allegedly threatening a man with a handgun, beating him with samurai swords and stealing his money and camera.

Fresno State Coach Jerry Tarkanian immediately kicked Jones off the team and suspended Brunner indefinitely.

Jones attended Artesia High and spent two seasons at USC before transferring to Fresno State; Brunner went to Compton Dominguez and then Georgetown, before leaving during his first season this winter to enroll at Fresno.

A spokesman for the Fresno Police Department said the victim, Colin DeForrest, 22, reported the incident shortly after 2 a.m.

DeForrest, whose relationship with Jones and Brunner was unknown to police, told officers that he and the two players were drinking and watching television in Jones' apartment near the Fresno State campus, several hours after the Bulldogs defeated Memphis, 83-80, in the National Invitation Tournament at Fresno.

DeForrest told officers that an argument ensued and Jones and Brunner pulled out handguns, according to Lt. Jerry Davis. DeForrest said Jones then slid a bullet into the firing chamber and placed the gun barrel against his face.

DeForrest thought Jones was joking, but then Jones and Brunner brandished two "samurai swords" and began beating him with the dull edges of the swords, Davis said.

"The victim said that Jones and Brunner followed that by slowly running the sharp end of the blades down his body," Davis said.

When DeForrest tried to leave the apartment, Jones grabbed his backpack and stole $230 in cash and a $500 camera, Chief Ed Winchester told the Associated Press.

After escaping Jones' apartment, DeForrest, whom Davis said did not require medical attention, called police.

Jones was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft. Brunner was arrested later at his home and charged with the same two counts. Both were released from jail on their own recognizance pending a court hearing, Fresno County Sheriff Steve Magarian said.

"Needless to say, I was devastated to hear this," Tarkanian said in a written statement. "There is no excuse for behavior like this, and I will not tolerate a few individuals continuing to give black eyes to our program and our university."

Jones was suspended earlier this season for violating school rules. He was among eight scholarship players who missed games because they were suspended, ineligible, in rehab or quit the team.

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