Records: UT players knew loaded guns in car picked up in Nashville

"They did not resist, but they were not forthcoming with information, either. When asked if we could search the vehicle, they refused."

Darrell DeBusk, Knoxville Police Department spokesman

Coach Bruce Pearl addresses the arrests of four UT basketball players

Knoxville police were trying Monday to interview a woman who rented a car that was stopped for speeding New Year’s Day and contained four University of Tennessee basketball players, two 9mm semiautomatic handguns, a bag of marijuana and a bottle of liqueur.

The four players, David Tyler Smith, Brian Michael Williams, Melvin Lamont Goins II and Cameron Alexander Tatum, face criminal charges in connection with the weapons and marijuana. They have been suspended indefinitely from the basketball team by coach Bruce Pearl.

The players told police they knew the firearms were in the rented 2010 Dodge Charger when they picked up the car in Nashville, records show. None of the players claimed ownership of the guns or the marijuana.

The weapons — a Taurus and a Smith & Wesson — were found under the driver’s seat and passenger seat of the car during an 11:30 a.m. traffic stop for speeding. Records show the Taurus held a magazine with eight rounds while the magazine containing five rounds for the second weapon had been removed and was lying beside the Taurus.

“Upon search, officers saw in plain view the muzzle of a Taurus handgun under the front passenger seat,” arrest reports state.

“Passenger David Tyler Smith stated they were aware of the firearms when they picked up the vehicle in Nashville and unnamed passenger/s (sic) took steps to remove the magazines,” the reports state.

The magazine for the Taurus, however, had not been completely removed, according to records.

Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said the weapons were undergoing forensic examinations Monday.

“The guns are being processed by our forensic units for fingerprints,” he said. “There will be a question of who handled the guns.”

A liaison officer with KPD will work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to conduct a trace on the firearms, he said. That process will take several days.

“Then it will be up to ATF to file charges if they want,” he said.

The manufacturer’s serial number on the Taurus had been filed down. DeBusk said federal agents sometimes can still trace those weapons despite attempts to obliterate the numbers.

State law does not differentiate between the serial number on a firearm or a microwave oven. Possessing any item with an altered serial number is a misdemeanor offense.

Federal law, however, is more strict on altering firearm serial numbers. U.S. Attorney Russ Dedrick said possessing or transporting a firearm with a molested serial number is a felony offense punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment upon conviction.

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Smith, 23, and Williams, 22, seated near the Taurus with the filed down serial number, have been charged with state misdemeanor offenses in connection with the altered weapon.

DeBusk declined Monday to identify the woman who had rented the black Charger carrying the four players or when the car had been rented. The car bears an Illinois license plate and is owned by EAN Holdings LLC in Lombard, Ill., an Enterprise rental company.

“We have a couple things to complete before we release her name,” he said. “We have a one-page document that identifies the person who rented the car.”

DeBusk did say that the vehicle was rented at company’s Clinton Highway location.

A representative of Enterprise on Monday retrieved the Charger from the KPD impoundment lot after an investigative hold had been lifted on the vehicle. A spokesman for Enterprise in Memphis, where the risk management division is located, declined comment Monday.

Pearl said this weekend the car was rented by a girlfriend of one of the players.

The UT’s compliance office would review the rental car situation to assure there was no violation of NCAA rules concerning extra benefits for athletes, Pearl said.

Tatum, 21, of Lithonia, Ga., was driving the Charger when police clocked it doing 70 mph on eastbound Interstate 40 near the Alcoa Highway exit, records show. The speed limit on I-40 downtown is 55 mph.

Officers stopped the Charger on Alcoa Highway near the intersection with Kingston Pike. When the officer spoke to the driver, he noted the odor of marijuana in the car, records state.

“They did not resist, but they were not forthcoming with information, either,” DeBusk said of the four players. “When asked if we could search the vehicle, they refused.”

The officer requested a police dog to inspect the car. That resulted in probable cause to search the car despite the players’ refusal, DeBusk said.

That’s when officers found a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun under the driver’s seat. Sitting behind Tatum, a sophomore guard, in the passenger seat was Goins, 22, of Dallas.

Sitting in the front passenger seat was Smith, a senior guard/forward. Under that seat police found the Taurus handgun.

Sitting behind Smith was Williams, a junior center, of Bronx, N.Y.

Positioned in the back seat was a backpack bearing Williams’ name, records show. Inside the backpack police found a plastic bag of marijuana.

Also found in the back seat, DeBusk said, was an open container of beer. Because the beer was not near the driver, no field sobriety tests were conducted on Tatum, he said.

Arrest records, however, state an open container of HPNOTIQ liqueur was found in the back seat. The liqueur is a mixture of fruit juices, vodka and cognac and is made in France.

Tatum was charged with possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed and speeding. He was released from jail after posting a $1,000 bond.

Goins, a junior guard, was charged with simple drug possession and possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed. He was released from jail after posting a $1,500 bond.

Smith was charged with possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed and alteration of an item’s permanent identification number. He was released from jail after posting a $2,000 bond.

Williams faces charges of simple drug possession, possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed and alteration of an item’s permanent identification number. He was released from jail after posting a $2,500 bond.

The players are scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 14 on the misdemeanor offenses.

Don Bosch said Monday he represents Smith, but the lawyer declined to comment on the charges.

Don Jacobs may be reached at 865-342-6345.

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 163

Seriouslyorange writes:

What else is new?

KENVOL writes:

Tell them all GOODBYE!!!!!!!!

tenndave writes:

Not Good News. The pot although disturbing is probably not grounds for dismissal. Knowingly having guns if that is true according to this report spells big trouble for all four. I wonder if they are doing fingerprints on the guns to determine most likely owner.

UT4ever writes:

First.......to tell these guys "Grow Up!!"

TampaVol81 writes:

Throw the boneheads out!
Pot, alcohol, unregistered firearms? The only thing missing were prostitutes!
UT is paying the price for decisions placing athletic talent over character.

HHUUMMBBLLEE writes:

PUCK!

thevoice writes:

in response to mtnsvol44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sounds like the start of a good joke: four UT athletes are driving in a Charger...

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to tenndave:

Not Good News. The pot although disturbing is probably not grounds for dismissal. Knowingly having guns if that is true according to this report spells big trouble for all four. I wonder if they are doing fingerprints on the guns to determine most likely owner.

Agreed. This information is bad news, I was hoping that they didn't know the guns were in the car, that they had been placed there by the owner/renter of the car without the player's knowledge. Now you have to ask what the hell they were doing when they knowingly got into a car with guns and open container of alcohol and pot at 11:30 am. If for no other reason, they should be punished for abject stupidity.

sampears writes:

They are gone now....no way to spin this...guns in the car they knew were there...drugs...alchohol opened.....they are done....

CoverOrange writes:

"possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed"

Is that redundant? Unless you forgot you possessed a firearm then no "intent"?

UT37916 writes:

in response to TennVolAlum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey man, this piece has a pearl handle.

ZacharyUTK writes:

Did you check to make sure that the guns weren't just pellet guns?

ZULU3 writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

good comment and right on the money.

copjon writes:

in response to mtnsvol44:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Better than a Prius. At least they have style...

fronix5000 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

well...I wasn't gonna say it, but I'm sure you are very correct. It's a shame that no one realizes that being 'hard' like the rap songs say to be is plain ignorance. Not all, but most rap is about hoes, killing po po's (cops), smoking J's, Forking Hoes. . . etc. I'd like to know what CD was playing at the time. C'mon guys, you are in college playing ball...I'm tired of the thug phooey. Be a man, and follow your inner character...not the rappers images.

fronix5000 writes:

in response to et_vol_fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

GET RID OF THE THUG WANNABES. They have the world in their palms, yet wanna be street mongers. So, let them go be street mongers. It's their choice, and they have already made up their minds it seems. If they want to be thugs...PLEASE GET RID OF THEM! We're tired of this image problem with guys who have it all in their hands and do stupid things. You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shart.

fundamentals83 writes:

Why have the charges been changed to "possessing an item with a filed down serial number" a misdemeanor? The charge should be "possesion of a firearm with an altered serial number".. A Felony.

Jedgarhoover writes:

Rough way to take a shot of liquor (with a kit Kat and water). I thought I was roughing it when I chased green label JD with milk as a student.

Seriously though, I was on jury duty in GA and the officer was able to blood test (via search warrant) a defendant for probable cause and the GA law defined posession of drugs as within the person's body. Don't know the TN laws though and am not a lawyer.

Guess we'll get more info later.

Atlanta sports radio is going to have a heyday with this one.

We'll take our beating and move on with this one. Who was the guy in charge of Clinton's image and how much do we need to pay him?

volsn3 writes:

THIS IS WHAT IS HURTING UT MORE THAN ANYTHING...SET THE EXAMPLE FAST....NO EXCEPTIONS...YOU KNEW THEY WHERE GUNS IN THE CAR AND YOU KNEW THERE WAS MARY-JANE IN THE CAR.. AND BEER AND YOU STILL GET IN... THEN YOU PAY FOR YOUR ACTIONS.....COME ON PEARL AND HAMILTON....FINISH THIS FAST...SEND THEM TO THE THUGS THEY CAME FROM AND GO FORTH.....LETS GET RID OF THIS IMAGE AS FAST AS WE ARE GETTING IT....I WILL NOT ATTEND ANY BASKETBALL GAMES UNTIL I AM SATISFIED THAT WE WE HAVE RESPECTFUL YOUNG MEN ON THE COURT....THEY ARE GETTING A VERY EXPENSIVE SCHOLARSHIP HANDED TO THEM...I ONLY WISH I COULD HAVE WENT...WAY TO EXPENSIVE IN THE EARLY 80'S...I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE THE COST THAT MY 9 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER IS GOING TO HAVE TO PAY.....THESE GUYS NEED TO HELD RESPONSIBLE AND SENT DOWN THE ROAD....IT IS TIME TO MEAN "IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOLUNTEER"...NOW IT'S HARD TO WEAR THE ORANGE

tenndave writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Agreed. This information is bad news, I was hoping that they didn't know the guns were in the car, that they had been placed there by the owner/renter of the car without the player's knowledge. Now you have to ask what the hell they were doing when they knowingly got into a car with guns and open container of alcohol and pot at 11:30 am. If for no other reason, they should be punished for abject stupidity.

If indeed Williams is the only one responsible for the pot legally speaking, even though We all feel they all had smoked but we don't know. If the guns are tied to only 2 players, then two will go free. WHo are they and then though we want them punished,what is fair. By the way, how many times does a public figure get pulled over for DUI and they don't loose their tax payer paid job.(scholarship) Isn't that why we have fines? (I think they should be fired) Why do we want athletes held to a higher standard than the rest of the world? I think you are right, not all will be charged in the end with anything but a misdemeanor.

BigOrangeBill writes:

I was pleased to read our new recruits are hanging in with Coach Pearl. I am convinced he is (and will continue to do) the right thing here. I also agree that all facts need to be known before we all make premature judgements. If some of these kids have years of clean behavior, I hate to see them kicked off team for one ridiculously stupid behavior. Exception: Any player (or all) involved with the serial number removal on a gun...or even carrying a gun AT ALL...should be kicked off team immediately. One thing's for sure, all UT players should be tested for pot REGULARLY...so often they would know for sure they couldn't get away with it. If these four are dismissed, Coach Pearl will have lots of scholarships opening up. The way good freshmen players are helping teams everywhere, maybe UT could rebound positively.

DancingOutlaw writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

it depends on who cops to it. In the case of the football players, the girl claimed the weed. Therefore she was the only one charged with possession. In this case while it was in williams' bag it could have been placed there by someone else. As for the intent to go armed charges, they were certainly with in easy reach and were probably ready for operation (i.e. one in the chamber or a loaded mag). You do not have to have one in the chamber for a gun to be considered loaded. By placing a weapon within easy reach of your person and the weapon at the ready to be used you are intending to be armed. Regardless of their intent to posess a firearm with a filed off serial number is beyond stupidity. That implies one of two things. The gun was stolen or was prepped to be used in a crime and thrown away. Neither looks good.

Porzitsku writes:

Wow, I had no idea Knoxville is so BORING for college kids. After all, it is merely a college town with all the trimmings, home of world-class athletics, and a dynamic and expanding student population. The guess by posters here is that the boyz got hooked into the thug life, or in other words, could not leave the 'hood at home. Amazing how stupid our youth is today, and it is getting worse.
Good bye national rankings and respect. Hello ridicule and purposeful avoidance. Thanks for all the memories, boyz, except this last one.

Ayres_Hall writes:

I rather lose with good student athletes than win with thugs. It's time to clean house of all bad seeds in each sport. IMO, this is worse than losing to UK by 80.

SmokyMTNVol writes:

in response to TampaVol81:

Throw the boneheads out!
Pot, alcohol, unregistered firearms? The only thing missing were prostitutes!
UT is paying the price for decisions placing athletic talent over character.

Agreed, it's time for Hamilton to show Pearl the door. Let's face it he has no control of what is going on with this basketball program.
It is awfully hard for me to watch these kids on the court as it is. Now this, show all four the door and send Pearl with them.

LdyVolFaninKS writes:

All four player's should be dismissed and forced to pay their scholarships back to UT. What a disgrace they are to the program. I'm sick of watching these promising young men throw it all away for nothing.

londonvol writes:

Is it just me or are the tatoos overdone? Forgive me if I offend anyone but I see blanket tatoos and think "Thug". I really try not too but this latest situation screams gang mentality.

BigHornBuckShot writes:

You would think the case is closed, but there is probably more to come. Smith and Williams are gone. The other two might be when other information comes forward. Such a shame. If the car was Smith's girlfriend, I assume she is from Illinois. Why was Tatum driving? Were they expecting trouble wherever they had been? This is going to get interesting. Hopefully the Knoxville police will get to the bottom of this and find out whom else is involved.

atlkevin writes:

A bottle of Hennessy?
Weed?
Semi-automatic weapons?
A Dodge Charger?

These guys weren't emulating their thug idols, now were they?

If there had been a hoochie-mama in the car with them an a video camera, you would have had all the ingredients for a hip-hop act.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Most foreign countries don't want babbling idiots either.
I guess America is stuck with you.

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

TECHxcoach Leach locks guy in closet for having a concussion , wonder what he'd do to these guys .

overtaxed writes:

in response to ZacharyUTK:

Did you check to make sure that the guns weren't just pellet guns?

Smith & Wesson and Taurus do not make pellet guns.

TennTusky writes:

Well of course they knew the guns were in the car.

Coach Pearl had asked his team to work on their shooting.

fundamentals83 writes:

in response to Ellison_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry dude, not going to the final four with pot heads. See USC vs UT..

knight81 writes:

KU fan writing from Lawrence, KS.

Fellas, how will this impact our game? We have been playing doormats all season and have been really looking forward to playing somebody good - like Tennessee. Ranked 14 & 14 in AP / Coaches poll respectively. We need Tennessee's best shot and now I fear we may not get it. I know nothing about Tennessee other than they are damn good. Can somebody give me an idea - say 90%, 80% etc that they think Tennessee will be at? Looks like you all lost one starter and at least one key sub. Obviously this hurts mentally/confidence. I agree with the polls. If this happened at KU (it has) I would want them gone.

Don't worry about it. It says nothing about Tennessee. Although the coach needs to send a message that get finds its way through those thick skulls.

Anyway....what will we see? Its at Tennessee which is good, we need to get the hell out of Allen Field House and get tested. Please tell, will we get tested?

richvol writes:

Duh...

Ironcity writes:

in response to imjustajerk:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your board name is appropriate. Zero tolerance never works! Heck Payton Manning, Reggie White and many other fine athletes would have been kicked out of school with that moronic nonsense.

These guys are in a lot of trouble. especially Williams. One of the things I am curious about is what if when tested some or all of the players tested negative for pot? Then what.

RCVOLIN10 writes:

in response to long_vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That is a good one.

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to volsn3:

THIS IS WHAT IS HURTING UT MORE THAN ANYTHING...SET THE EXAMPLE FAST....NO EXCEPTIONS...YOU KNEW THEY WHERE GUNS IN THE CAR AND YOU KNEW THERE WAS MARY-JANE IN THE CAR.. AND BEER AND YOU STILL GET IN... THEN YOU PAY FOR YOUR ACTIONS.....COME ON PEARL AND HAMILTON....FINISH THIS FAST...SEND THEM TO THE THUGS THEY CAME FROM AND GO FORTH.....LETS GET RID OF THIS IMAGE AS FAST AS WE ARE GETTING IT....I WILL NOT ATTEND ANY BASKETBALL GAMES UNTIL I AM SATISFIED THAT WE WE HAVE RESPECTFUL YOUNG MEN ON THE COURT....THEY ARE GETTING A VERY EXPENSIVE SCHOLARSHIP HANDED TO THEM...I ONLY WISH I COULD HAVE WENT...WAY TO EXPENSIVE IN THE EARLY 80'S...I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE THE COST THAT MY 9 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER IS GOING TO HAVE TO PAY.....THESE GUYS NEED TO HELD RESPONSIBLE AND SENT DOWN THE ROAD....IT IS TIME TO MEAN "IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOLUNTEER"...NOW IT'S HARD TO WEAR THE ORANGE

Far left on your keyboard, midway up, you'll find a "Caps Lock" key. Push it down ever so gently and free yourself and the rest of us. Thx!

cc623 writes:

It would be my understanding that "intent to go armed" would have to mean that the guns were loaded or at least one of them was.It is not illegal to transport an unloaded firearm in Tennessee.Imagine buying a gun at WalMart or somewhere like that if it was illegal to transport it how would you get it home lawfully?

The marijuana does not pose a big problem in today's society and I'm sure most people would rather it have been pot as opposed to bottles full of prescription painkillers(hillbilly heroin).

The guns are the BIG deal here and especially the altered serial number one as that is normally linked to a crime(past/future)trying to make it harder to find the gun's owner.This group may not have been involved in one but,the gun's previous owner probably would have been guilty of some violent crime...

BDaws writes:

Here are a couple of questions I have. Will it not be thrown out since they refused to be searched? You cannot be searched without a warrant. If the cops walked a dog around without permission to then was it not against the law? My brother works for the TBI and told me to always say no to a search whether you have anything or not and to make them get a warrant. Or did the smell give them the legal right to walk around a dog? I also think if a human could smell it why even use a dog? I find using dogs ridiculous as well. Why not just train the dog to jump on cars so you have a reason to search the car every time? I'm not making excuses for these guys actions, these are simply questions. Thanks for your responses!

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to Ellison_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Such irony. You being the pathetic loser that you are....and Peyton is about to collect another MVP award....maybe he'll let you shine it for him!

great_2B_Vol writes:

C'mon KNS, you have the license plate number now go do some investigative journalism and find out the story behind the car rental.

ellerbee123 writes:

After the fact I heard Tyler had issues while in Iowa and they were glad to get rid of him. Someone should check and see. Getting rid of these "stars" may allow others to shine. LET THEM GO. We will either sink or swim but I had rather sink than have these thugs on our team. Let's award the guys who play by the rules. Not the ones disobeying them.

grpphoto#222763 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

"possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed"

Is that redundant? Unless you forgot you possessed a firearm then no "intent"?

The actual title of the offense is "Carrying a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Go Armed."

Your logic in this case is exactly what will get them convicted of the charge. There's no question that these pistols are deadly weapons, and there's no other believable reason to have a loaded pistol in your possession.

ellerbee123 writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

I rather lose with good student athletes than win with thugs. It's time to clean house of all bad seeds in each sport. IMO, this is worse than losing to UK by 80.

AMEN!! My sentiments exactly............

VolinCalif writes:

in response to fundamentals83:

Why have the charges been changed to "possessing an item with a filed down serial number" a misdemeanor? The charge should be "possesion of a firearm with an altered serial number".. A Felony.

There maybe a tech difference in filing/wearing down of a serial number and trying to change it. Changing serial numbers is very common in auto thefts. Also it maybe be subject to whether or not the true number is still visible. Don/t know just guessing.

grpphoto#222763 writes:

in response to BDaws:

Here are a couple of questions I have. Will it not be thrown out since they refused to be searched? You cannot be searched without a warrant. If the cops walked a dog around without permission to then was it not against the law? My brother works for the TBI and told me to always say no to a search whether you have anything or not and to make them get a warrant. Or did the smell give them the legal right to walk around a dog? I also think if a human could smell it why even use a dog? I find using dogs ridiculous as well. Why not just train the dog to jump on cars so you have a reason to search the car every time? I'm not making excuses for these guys actions, these are simply questions. Thanks for your responses!

No, it will not be thrown out. Evidence from a suitably trained dog has been considered unassailable legal proof in courts for decades, if not centuries. In this case, it was considered "probable cause" for issuing a search warrant, and the warrant gave the police the right to search the car.

thevoice writes:

in response to TennVolAlum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The third one says "Hey guys, are you sure it's okay for us to do this?" and the fourth one says, "We're at UT, we can do anything we want! Now pass me that gun and watch me do 70."

VolinCalif writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Your board name is appropriate. Zero tolerance never works! Heck Payton Manning, Reggie White and many other fine athletes would have been kicked out of school with that moronic nonsense.

These guys are in a lot of trouble. especially Williams. One of the things I am curious about is what if when tested some or all of the players tested negative for pot? Then what.

If you are closed into a small area where someone is smoking pot you will fail the drug test. Been proven time and again with Commercial Drivers.

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