NBA player, gal pal stabbed outside NYC club
By Natasha Velez, Larry Celona and David K. Li
A former New York Knicks player, who now shoots hoops for the Indiana Pacers, was stabbed — along with his friend and another woman — in an NBA free-for-all outside the 1OAK club in Manhattan early Wednesday, police sources said.
Chris Copeland, 31, was arguing with his gal pal Katrine Saltara outside the Chelsea hotspot on West 17th Street around 4 a.m., when the hoopster spotted 22-year-old suspect Shezoy Bleary — and accused him of eavesdropping on their private chat, police sources said.
Then Copeland and Bleary got into a heated argument, which Saltara tried to break up, witnesses told cops.
That’s when the suspect allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Copeland in the stomach and slashed Saltara in the breast, buttocks and arm, police sources said.
Bleary’s female pal was also stabbed by him in the melee, sources said.
A limo driver outside 1OAK saw the carnage unfold and flagged down nearby cops, who rushed in to make the arrest, sources said.
Copeland, a 6-foot-8 Newark native, and Saltara were rushed to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition, authorities said. The Pacers said Copeland suffered wounds to his left elbow and abdomen. The other woman was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital, authorities said.
Saltara was identified by police as Copeland’s wife, but the player’s agent insisted they’re not married.
“I’ve not had a chance to speak to Chris this morning,” said Copeland rep John Spencer.
NBA legend and Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird issued the following statement: “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.”
Bleary was taken into police custody at the scene and charges against him are pending. The knife was recovered at the scene.
Copeland’s Pacers are in New York to play the Knicks Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The lively scene at 1OAK also drew players from the Atlanta Hawks, who are in town to take on the Nets at Barclays Center.
Pero Antic (left) of the Atlanta Hawks is escorted out of the precinct.Photo: William Farrington
Two Hawks were picked up following the melee after they refused to get out of the way and let police establish the crime scene, law enforcement sources said.
His 6-foot-7 Hawks teammate Thabo Sefolosha, 30, was charged with resisting arrest as well as obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, sources said.
The Chelsea nightclub 1OAK has long been a popular hangout for New York’s rich and famous to party — and find trouble.
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