Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland and two women were stabbed outside a Manhattan nightclub early Wednesday following an argument on the street near a Chelsea club that also led to the arrest of two Atlanta Hawks players, authorities said.
According to reports, Copeland and his former fiancée Katrine Saltara were talking outside of 1Oak nightclub on W. 17th St. when they were approached by a stranger. A source says Copeland told the person he had to leave, and the person took it the wrong way, then pulled out his knife and stabbed the athlete in the stomach.
Saltara then jumped on the attacker’s back and tried to put him in a chokehold, but she got slashed. Police say she was struck in the arm and across the breast.
Earlier reports Wednesday said Saltara is Copeland’s wife. A source, however, said they were engaged last year but are no longer, labeling their relationship as “good friends” who were hanging out at the club early Wednesday.
A third woman, who was believed to be with the attacker, also was slashed in the abdomen during the incident. She was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital and is in stable condition, according to the New York Daily News.
The suspect, Shezoy Bleary, was in custody, authorities said. Police said charges were pending, and it wasn’t clear whether Bleary had an attorney who could comment on the charges. The knife was recovered at the scene.
Hawks players Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha were arrested on charges of obstructing the crime scene, after police said they blocked officers from trying to start their investigation. The players were in town to play the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night and had arrived late Tuesday after playing a night game in Atlanta.
A source said the Hawks players were not in Copeland’s party at 1Oak Club.
A cellphone video of the bloody aftermath posted on TMZ.com showed the wounded Copeland lying against a wall as Saltara sat alongside him.
Garin Narain, the Hawks vice president of public relations, said in a statement Wednesday morning that the team is investigating the matter.
“We are aware of the situation involving Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha this morning,” Narain said. “We are in the process of gathering more information and will have further comment at the appropriate time.”
In a statement, the club disputed that the altercation occurred near the venue, and said it was cooperative with the NYPD. “A review of the video footage seems to reveal the incident did not originate from or surrounding the venue,” the statement said.
The Pacers were in town to play the Knicks on Wednesday night. Coach Frank Vogel said he planned to visit Copeland in the hospital.