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Canisius recruit gets bail on gun charges; school drops him

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BUFFALO, New York. A New York State Supreme Court judge set bail of $100,000 for Canisius College basketball recruit arrested for having two handguns, a shotgun and multiple high-capacity magazines at the school’s indoor sports facility.

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Shortly after Judge Debra Givens posted bail for Sarion McGee, Canisius Athletic Director Bill Maher told The Associated Press that McGee would not be accepted into the school. Maher cited the seriousness of the allegations and noted that although McGee was hired to play Canisius, the admissions process was not completed.

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Givens asked why McGee, 23, who specializes in criminal justice, either ignored or did not familiarize himself with state gun laws when he moved to Buffalo from his home in Wisconsin. She also ordered McGee not to leave Erie County.

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“Mr. McGee, one thing is clear: you are a highly irresponsible gun owner,” Givens said. “You shouldn’t be in this situation, and yet you are.”

McGee’s lawyer, Michael Seibert, welcomed the judge’s decision to post bail and said he expects his client to be released within a few days.

Seibert declined to comment on Canisius’ decision to keep McGee out, saying he needed to consult with his client. In court, Seibert told Givens that Canisius’ coach Reggie Witherspoon “still wants him on the team”.

McGee has been held without bail since he was arrested on June 12, the day after his arrival in Buffalo. He faces 15 weapons-related charges, with sentences ranging from 3.5 to 15 years in prison.

According to court documents, a campus police officer was checking cars illegally parked at the Canisius sports ground when he saw a 22-gauge high-capacity magazine in the passenger seat of McGee’s car. Shortly thereafter, McGee left the building and approached the officers, informing them that he had two loaded handguns and additional magazines in his fanny pack.

Police eventually found several more loaded magazines in his glove box and a 12-gauge shotgun in the trunk.

Seibert said the weapons and ammunition were purchased legally. He added that McGee had just arrived in Buffalo and had all his belongings in the car because he couldn’t move into his dorm room.

McGee was arrested about a month after a mass shooting in Buffalo, where a 19-year-old white man was alleged to have killed 10 black people in a supermarket. The shooting took place about a mile from the Canisius campus.

Seibert said that McGee should not be seen as a runaway risk because his future is in playing basketball at Canisius. He added that McGee’s fiancée has taken a job at a local medical facility and will start work on Monday.

Seibert also noted that McGee had no criminal record and was active in boys’ and girls’ clubs in Wisconsin.

Maher protected the player character.

“The narrative associated with this situation does not reflect our experience with the young man, nor the stories of other people with whom our staff interacted and who coached him,” Maher said. “Sarion and his mother were visiting us on campus. And we felt comfortable continuing this process and making him a part of our program.”

McGee from Milwaukee. He moved to Canisius from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference after playing at Logan Community College in Illinois the previous year. The 6-foot-8 player spent the 2020-21 season with Grambling State, where he started 15 games.


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