WASHINGTON (CNN) — Police arrested Indianapolis Colts safety Joe Lefeged early Saturday after allegedly finding his semiautomatic pistol poking out from under the passenger seat of the white Camaro he'd been in, police said.
The Chevrolet sports car got police's attention shortly after midnight because it was being driven erratically, Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Araz Alali told CNN. According to charging papers filed in D.C. Superior Court, police spotted one of its passengers standing up in the backseat of the convertible.
On the street, plainclothes officers repeatedly asked the Camaro's driver to put the car in the park. Instead, according to the charging papers, he put his foot on the gas and sped away.
Four officers eventually found the Camaro, its still unidentified driver having fled on foot.
They also saw one man, later identified as Lefeged, running in one direction and the man who'd been standing up in the Camaro, later identified as 23-year-old Aaron Timothy Wilson, going another way.
Both men were arrested, about four miles east of the Capitol, without incident, according to Alali.
Lefeged's public defender, Martina King, gave a different take, saying her client was sitting in the Camaro's passenger seat, not on foot, when he was arrested.
Police at the scene searching the vehicle found a clear bottle in the center console that smelled of alcohol and a black H&K .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol "in plain view sticking out from underneath the front passenger seat."
Investigators determined that Lefeged paid $900 for the gun, which he took possession of in late May, according to the charging papers.
King, the public defender, contended the gun in question is registered to Lefeged and, since it was under his seat, was out of his reach.
But Judge Anne O'Regan Keary disagreed, saying that the firearm was in Lefeged's reach if it was under his seat. Keary ruled that there was probable cause to continue detaining him at least until his next hearing Tuesday morning.
According to Alali, Lefeged and Wilson were both arrested on suspicion of carrying a firearm without a license, having an unregistered firearm, having unregistered ammunition, presence of a firearm in a motor vehicle and possession of an open container of alcohol.
For the time being, at least, Lefeged is facing only two charges: presence of a firearm in a motor vehicle and possession of an unregistered firearm.
The 25-year-old Colts defensive back did not enter a plea during his initial court appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Saturday.
Washington has some of the strictest gun-control measures in the country.
According to the district's law, "no person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, or any deadly or dangerous weapon capable of being so concealed."
That said, a firearm is permitted in the district if it is held in the registrant's home or workplace, is being used for "lawful recreational purposes" or "is being transported for a lawful purpose."
Firearms registered elsewhere still must be registered in the District of Columbia.
The Colts issued a statement Saturday after Lefeged's arrest, saying little more than they were "aware of the reports" and will not comment further until they get additional information.
Lefeged has played in every game of his two-year professional football career, including four starts last season for the Colts.
His arrest comes a few days after another NFL standout, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, was charged with murder and several gun-related offenses in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.