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Fresno State F Jones, G Brunner charged with assault, theft

Posted: Wed March 18, 1998 at 6:06 a.m EST

Fresno State forward Avondre Jones and Kenny Brunner, a guard who transferred from Georgetown late in the season, were arrested Tuesday morning and expected to be charged with assault and grand theft today in Fresno, California.

According to the police report, which will be presented to the Fresno County District Attorney's office this morning, Jones, Brunner and the victim, 22-year-old Colin DeForrest, were drinking in Jones' off-campus apartment following Monday's 83-80 victory over Memphis.

An argument ensued, and Jones allegedly brandished a handgun and activated the chamber as if to put a round in it. According to DeForrest, Jones began to wave the gun around in a threatening manner and put it in his face.

When Jones was told the gun was loaded, he became concerned and put the gun down, only to take out samurai swords. He and Brunner then allegedly slapped DeForrest with the flat side of the swords on his torso and legs, and also scratched him with the front and back of the sword, leaving welts, abrasions, scratches and lacerations on DeForrest's legs and torso.

At this point, DeForrest attempted to leave the apartment with his backpack. But Jones and Brunner removed a camera and money from the backpack. DeForrest returned to his apartment, and with his roomate, returned to Jones' apartment to try and recover his camera and money. When the two refused, DeForrest notified the authorities.

"A warrantless arrest was made because elements created probable cause a crime was committed," said Lieutenant Jerry Davis of the Fresno Police Department. "Both were booked into the Fresno County Jail and we have until 11 a.m. (today) to present the case to the district attorney's office, where it will be reviewed."

Bulldogs coach Jerry Tarkanian released a statement through the school Tuesday.

"I learned this morning that two members of our basketball program, Avondre Jones and Kenny Brunner, were arrested late last night for suspected felonies. Needless to say, I was devastated to hear this. I couldn't even enjoy one night after a big victory."

Jones, who played 24 minutes and scored six points in Monday night's 83-80 victory over Memphis, was dismissed from the team by Tarkanian. He averaged 9.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 24 games.

"Avondre was playing under strict conditions, required by a Code of Conduct panel," Tarkanian added. "Therefore, I have dismissed Avondre from the team immediately. I have suspended Kenny indefinitely from the basketball program pending an investigation of the facts by the athletic director and the justice system."

Brunner, a native of Compton, California, averaged 11.2 points and 7.3 assists in 19 games for Georgetown before leaving the team, citing homesickness. Brunner would not have been eligible for the 1998-99 season as per NCAA rules regarding transfers.

The alleged incident comes two days after the CBS news magazine show "60 Minutes" did a piece on the Bulldogs' basketball program and Tarkanian, pointing out the number of players who have been disciplined and given second chances either arriving to play at Fresno State or during this season.

"This has been a difficult season," said Tarkanian, who recorded his 14th consecutive 20-win season despite handing out a variety of suspensions this season for violations of team rules. "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. I won't rest until all members of our basketball program exhibit behavior everyone can be proud of."

Jones is one of five Fresno State players who has missed time this season due to suspension or other problems. Point guard Rafer Alston missed the first game of the season after being suspended for an assault charge. Daymond Forney, who was suspended three different times due to violating team rules, quit the team February 25th.

Starting forward Tremaine Fowlkes was suspended two games for violating team rules, and starting shooting guard Chris Herren missed five games, taking a personal leave to battle a substance-abuse problem.

© 1998 Sportsticker Enterprises, LP

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