WASHINGTON Indianapolis Colts safety Joe Lefeged was arrested early Saturday after officers found an unregistered semi-automatic pistol in the car he was riding in, police said.
Lefeged was a front-seat passenger in a Chevy Camaro that fled a traffic stop for speeding in northeast Washington just after midnight. Officers smelled marijuana in the car and found a plastic bottle of vodka and orange juice in the center console and a semi-automatic pistol under the front passenger seat, police documents show. A receipt in the car showed Lefeged bought the gun this year for about $900, police said.
Lefeged and another passenger were caught when they tried to run from the car in different directions, police said. The driver got away.
Lefeged is being held without bond on a charge of carrying an unlicensed pistol. He faces until a preliminary hearing Tuesday. A lawyer listed as representing him did not return a call seeking comment Saturday afternoon.
"We are aware of the reports regarding Joe Lefeged in Washington, D.C. At this time, we will have no further comment on the pending matter until we gain more information," the Colts said in a statement Saturday.
Police say officers stopped the car for speeding and because one passenger, identified as 23-year-old Aaron Wilson, was standing completely upright in the backseat. After police repeatedly told the driver to put the car in park, the driver sped off, nearly striking officers who had surrounded the white convertible, police said.
Police say they recovered the car nearby and arrested Lefeged as he tried to run away. Officers found a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun "in plain view sticking out from underneath the front passenger seat," according to charging documents.
Lefeged, 25, grew up outside of Washington and was a star high school football player in the region. Now entering his third NFL season, he played for Rutgers in college and was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in July 2011. He started four games last season and recorded two tackles and a forced fumble in a playoffs loss to the Baltimore Ravens in January.
The arrest comes as the NFL grapples with gun violence. Tight end Aaron Hernandezand was swiftly released by the New England Patriots. Last year, former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself.