Columbia, Mo. Two University of Missouri basketball players involved in an altercation that left one with a broken jaw and the other facing criminal assault charges were seen at two earlier fights that resulted in gunfire last year, police said Thursday.
Senior guards Stefhon Hannah and Jason Horton - along with two other teammates - were present when teammate DeMarre Carroll was shot in the ankle outside a downtown nightclub in July 2007, police Capt. Mike Martin said. Hannah and Horton also were at a later fight that resulted in gunfire outside a convenience store, Martin said.
The disclosure, first reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune, raises more questions about player brushes with the law in light of a Jan. 27 fight outside the Athena nightclub that left Hannah, the team's leading scorer the past two years, with a broken jaw.
Horton, who joined Hannah as a starter in Missouri's backcourt, was later arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault after a 26-year-old Athena employee told police Horton repeatedly punched him in the face.
Since the hiring of coach Mike Anderson less than two years ago, five Tiger players have been involved in off-court violence or misconduct.
Capt. Mike Martin said that both Hannah and Horton, along with sophomore guard Keon Lawrence and junior guard Mike Anderson Jr., were interviewed by police after Carroll's shooting.
Police said that Carroll and an unidentified 23-year-old man were shot after an early morning argument between Club Tropicana employees, bar patrons and people outside the club.
Martin said that Carroll was not involved in the fight, echoing statements by Anderson and his spokesman that Carroll, who is Anderson's nephew, was caught in the crossfire while trying to break up the dispute. There have been no arrests in that shooting.
In the convenience store incident, officers responded to a Break Time parking lot after 2 a.m. on Dec. 16, 2007, when police heard three to five gunshots. No injuries were reported, though a clerk said that 30 people were in the parking lot before the shots were fired.
Police interviewed both Hannah and Horton about that fight but were not considered suspects, Martin said. Three other men later were arrested in the shooting. Two days after the Athena assault, Anderson responded by suspending Hannah, Horton and three other players for violating curfew.
Forwards Leo Lyons and Marshall Brown were reinstated after missing one game, while Horton and forward Darryl Butterfield - already on probation after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of peace disturbance for a fight involving his ex-girlfriend - rejoined the team after missing two games.
Hannah remains suspended but likely is out for the rest of the season.
The presence of Hannah and Horton at the convenience store is an apparent violation of a 9 p.m. curfew Anderson established after Carroll's shooting as part of what he called a "zero-tolerance" policy.
The curfew was moved back to 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends at the beginning of the school year.
"People can make their own decisions as to whether or not these guys are in the wrong place at the wrong time," Martin said. "Depending upon where you hang out, the odds (of getting into trouble) get greater."
Team spokesman Dave Reiter said that Anderson and his staff were aware of the earlier incident involving Hannah and Horton, as well as the presence of four of Carroll's teammates when he was shot.
"We had a chance to speak with our kids months ago about this," he said. "We've been aware that our guys answered police questions because they were in the area in both instances, but were not suspects ... They assisted police and we hope what they said was helpful."