Basketballer arrested over gun threat

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A SOCIAL basketball player enraged by a referee’s umpiring planned to confront the official with a handgun before being talked out of it by friends, police claim.

The 38-year-old man was behind bars last night after detectives allegedly found an unlicensed 9mm automatic pistol in his car during a search yesterday.

The drama involving the referee allegedly unfolded at Melville Recreation Centre about 7pm on Monday after the man argued with the referee and stormed out to the carpark.

It is then, police claim, that he got the gun and was walking back to the centre when he was stopped by friends near the entrance.

Police are unsure what the man’s friends said to him but he did not go back inside.

It is unclear if the man had been fouled out of the game or had left the court of his choice but it is understood that by the time he was allegedly making his way back to the recreation centre with the gun, the game had finished.

The referee did not see the man or the gun.

Witnesses who allegedly saw the man holding the gun contacted police. Fremantle detectives seized CCTV vision of the carpark yesterday before raiding the man’s home.

“The witnesses were obviously concerned, which is why they called police on the night,” Detective First Class Constable Dan Bordoni said.

“The fact that we have got our hands on an unlicensed firearm is a good result.”

Police are still investigating how the man allegedly came to possess the gun but have charged him with carrying an unlicensed firearm and going armed in public in a way that might cause fear.

The social men’s basketball competition at Melville Recreation Centre has 29 teams that compete each week across four grades.

It is unclear which team the charged man plays for or if he or his team will face sanctions over the alleged incident.

The City of Melville, which manages the centre, was unavailable for comment last night but competition rules posted on its website state: “The team will be held responsible for the conduct of its members and spectators.

“Further, teams are expected to conduct themselves in keeping with the ethos of participation, enjoyment and healthy competition.”

The rules say that “the sports official’s decision is final” and that players can be suspended and put on probation.

“Any player/team that has three ‘strikes’ against their name due to player reports may see themselves banned from LeisureFit Sports Competitions indefinitely,” the rules say.

The charged man is expected to appear in court today.



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