Marvin Harrison, the former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver whose role in a 2008 shooting is under investigation by the Philadelphia district attorney, was ordered to surrender a 9 mm handgun to police Wednesday during a routine traffic stop.
Harrison was stopped at approximately 5 p.m. on the 2700 block of Jefferson Avenue in Philadelphia about three blocks from a garage he owns, according to three law enforcement sources. The garage was the site of a 2008 shooting in which three people were injured. Two of the victims accused Harrison of firing the shots, but he has not been charged in the case.
The 37-year-old former Pro Bowl receiver was driving the wrong way down the one-way street in a Cadillac Escalade when the patrolman stopped him along with the driver of a second car that was trailing him, the sources said.
According to the law enforcement sources, the patrolman saw Harrison place something that appeared to be a weapon in the seat console of his car. When the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle, Harrison produced a car registration and a permit to carry a weapon, both of which were in order. When he was asked whether he had a weapon, however, he answered no, the sources said.
At that point, the sources added, the officer said that he had probable cause to search the vehicle and found a weapon in the seat console.
The sources said Harrison was being questioned at the Philadelphia Police Department's special investigations unit Wednesday evening. He was later released. The department's public information office did not answer calls or e-mails seeking comment.
Harrison has been labeled a "person of interest" in the April 2008 shooting, which started when he had an altercation near his garage with Dwight Dixon, an ex-con who frequented the neighborhood. Dixon was shot once in the hand after an argument. A bystander was hit in the back with a stray bullet, and a boy sitting in a car was injured by shattered glass.
Dixon was later fatally shot in a crime that remains unsolved.
A lingering mystery from the initial shooting involving Dixon is three spent 9 mm shell casings that ended up in Dixon's truck. Dixon said they came from a second weapon fired by Harrison, but no weapon was ever recovered.
The police department source said that as a matter of routine, Harrison's gun will be tested to see whether it matches those casings. It was unclear Wednesday evening when the tests would be done.
The Philadelphia district attorney, Seth Williams, has said that he has considered filing an array of charges against Harrison related to the 2008 incident and that it is "something that we will consider in the future." But Williams said he wants to wait until an investigation into Dixon's shooting is complete.
A lawyer for Harrison, Thomas Wagner, has previously said that his client "emphatically denies" the allegations but would have no comment because of two pending civil suits from the 2008 incident. Wagner could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
Shaun Assael is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.