CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Hornets guard James Bouknight was found intoxicated and unconscious and holding a gun with his vehicle in drive before he was arrested on Sunday morning on DWI charges, according to Charlotte Mecklenburg County Police.
Police released the new details on Bouknight’s arrest on Wednesday.
Police said they responded to reports that a person was passed out in his vehicle in a Charlotte parking lot Sunday morning, blocking the traffic way.
According to the police report, officers saw Bouknight unconscious inside the vehicle with the vehicle running and in drive. He had the handgun in his hands. Officers set up a perimeter and attempted to awaken Bouknight for approximately an hour using a public address system, blasting airhorns and using lights.
Police said that once Bouknight was awake, he refused to comply with commands and appeared confused for several minutes. They said he ate food inside his vehicle and then crashed into two police cars — one of front of him and another behind him.
Bouknight eventually left the vehicle and was detained.
A breathalyzer test later confirmed Bouknight’s blood-alcohol content was 0.14, above North Carolina’s legal limit of 0.08.
Bouknight was not charged for possession of a gun. Under North Carolina law, open carry is permitted in cases where the firearm is considered legal and Bouknight has a pending concealed carry permit.
Attempts to reach Bouknight’s agent Nick Blatchford for comment on Wednesday weren’t immediately successful.
Bouknight stated at the scene that he had approximately four tequila shots prior to driving home, the police report said.
Officer Craig Warren said in the report that Bouknight had glassy eyes and a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath. Bouknight was placed under arrest for DWI since he was in a public area and behind the wheel of a running vehicle, in drive, in the traffic way while intoxicated.
The Hornets reiterated on Wednesday they are looking into the matter and have no comment.
Bouknight was given a bond of $2,500.
He’s set to appear in court to answer the DWI charges on Nov. 10.
According to court documents obtained from the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Superior Court, the 22-year-old Bouknight also faces pending charges for three other separate incidents.
He’s due in court on Nov. 29 on charges of speeding, reckless driving and wanton disregard. He has a court date on Dec. 6 for speeding and reckless driving to endanger. And he has a court date on Dec. 13 for reckless driving and wanton disregard.
Bouknight, who was a first-round draft pick by the Hornets in 2021, told reporters after Tuesday’s practice that “I just wanted to apologize for being a distraction before the start of the season for my teammates and what we’ve got going on.”
He called the arrest “disappointing,” adding, “I’m trying to learn from it, be able to stay strong, move on and continue to grow.”
He also said Hornets coach Steve Clifford has been supportive since being hired as head coach.
“Cliff has been there for me every step of the way since he got here,” Bouknight said. “Having a coach that really believes in you and is invested in helping you and making you better means everything to me.”
Bouknight played 14 1/2 minutes and did not score in Charlotte’s season-opening win at San Antonio on Wednesday night.
Bouknight also had an alcohol-related incident while he was a freshman at the University of Connecticut in 2019.
Police said Bouknight smelled of alcohol and fled from an officer after driving another student’s car into a road sign near campus.
Bouknight was charged with evading responsibility, interfering with police, driving without a license and driving too fast for conditions, and he received probation, leaving him without a criminal record.