ATLANTA — Atlanta forward Shelden Williams escaped without injury when he was carjacked at gunpoint Saturday before the Hawks’ game against Charlotte.
Two suspects were arrested with his car hours later.
Douglasville City Police said two suspects were arrested late Saturday afternoon at Arbor Place Mall in Douglas County, near Atlanta. The suspects were attempting a robbery, according to an officer who answered the phone at the Douglasville Police Department.
The officer, who declined to give her name, said one suspect was taken to a hospital after suffering dog bites from the police canine unit during the arrest.
As of late Saturday night, the suspect was still hospitalized, but his injuries are not serious, according to the Douglasville police. The officer said the names of the suspects would not be released Saturday night.
Fulton County Police spokesman Gary Syblis said Williams was approached by two men outside a barber shop. One man pulled out a gun and demanded Williams’ keys to his 2008 Chrysler, according to Syblis.
Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche says Williams provided police with the license plate number of the vehicle used by the carjackers, leading to a search that led to two suspects being arrested at a mall in Douglas County. Williams’ car was found at the scene.
"I’m just glad that he’s safe," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said.
"Cars and things like that, jewelry, money, all that can be replaced."
Triche said Williams’ car was damaged when found.
Williams reported to Philips Arena before the game but missed the team’s pregame workout. He made his first appearance in the game against the Bobcats late in the third quarter and played only two minutes.
For the season, he is averaging 3.1 points and 3.1 rebounds.
Williams’ teammates said they were just glad to see him unharmed.
"It’s so sad what happens out in the world today," said Marvin Williams after the game. "Guys work so hard and for someone to come up and take it from you that quick, it’s sad. Shelden is a tough guy. I’m sure he’ll bounce back from it. I just thank God that nothing happened to him."
Shelden Williams told Woodson and other team officials about the incident when he reported for the game. He said the car was stolen outside an Atlanta barber shop.
Williams declined comment to The Associated Press before the game but told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution "It’s been a long day, but I’m fine."
Williams huddled with a Hawks security official in the lockerroom after the game. He did not make himself available for interviews.
Syblis said Williams, a second-year player from Duke, did not identify himself as a player for the Hawks.
Syblis says the incident occurred outside a barber shop on Cascade Road in Atlanta, providing another example that athletes don’t have to be in dangerous areas to be targeted. "You’ve got to be really careful who you’re with, where you’re going, things of that nature," said Hawks guard Joe Johnson. "I mean, I don’t know, a lot of athletes are being targeted the last month or two.
"It could have been worse. Luckily it wasn’t. Luckily he was able to walk away form it. That’s the main thing. Everything else is materialistic."
The incident is only the latest in a series of attacks on professional athletes. Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was shot and killed at his home in what is believed to have been a botched burglary.
Earlier this month, Indiana Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley and his entourage were shot at in a parking lot outside a five-star hotel in Indianapolis.