COLUMBIA — Columbia police arrested MU sophomore linebacker Marquis Booker early Sunday morning on suspicion of a felony count of unlawful use of a weapon and on suspicion of violating Columbia’s underage liquor laws.
Police arrested Booker after they pulled over a car leaving the scene of a disturbance at the Gateway at Columbia apartment complex. In the car were Booker, sophomore receiver Jeremy Maclin, sophomore linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, freshman recruit George White and MU sophomore Jessica Reaves, Lt. Dianne Bernhard of the Columbia Police Department said. Police found a handgun in the car that Booker, 20, of 3281 S. Old 63, said was his, Bernhard said.
Police interviewed Maclin, Weatherspoon, White and Reaves. Only Booker was charged with a crime.
MU athletics department spokesman Chad Moller confirmed that Booker has been suspended from the football team indefinitely and said Maclin and Weatherspoon will not face a suspension. Moller said any punishment for the players’ involvement would be handled internally.
Booker was released at around 8 a.m. Sunday from Boone County Jail on a $4,800 bond.
According to Bernhard, police were called to the apartment complex at 3905 Buttonwood Drive just before 4 a.m. Sunday. Bernhard said police found a group of people in a parking lot arguing loudly with another group of people on a second-floor balcony. Bernhard said witnesses told police that Booker took a gun out of a black 2007 Nissan Altima, cocked it and began waving it around. Bernhard said witnesses said Booker did not point the gun at anyone.
Police pulled over the car, driven by Maclin, near the intersection of Grindstone Parkway and Churchill Drive in south Columbia after following it from the scene of the disturbance. Officers found a loaded handgun underneath the passenger seat, accessible only from the back seat. Bernhard said the car is registered to Jeffrey A. Parres, 47, who works as a urologist in St. Louis. According to an article published in the New York Times, Parres is Maclin’s legal guardian and served as his youth football coach in Kirkwood.
Booker, a reserve from Ardmore, Okla., played in one game for the Tigers in 2007. Booker was forced to redshirt his first season at MU after suffering a broken kneecap during fall conditioning workouts.
According to Moller, team policy dictates that team members found guilty of a felony have no chance at remaining on the team. If the charge is downgraded to a misdemeanor and Booker is found guilty, he must fulfill a lengthy set of requirements for reinstatement, and reinstatement is not guaranteed, Moller said.
White is a freshman inside linebacker from Harmony Prep School in Cincinnati. White signed a letter of intent to play for Missouri in February, and in an October interview with rivals.com he expressed a desire to enroll early at MU in January.
Maclin was selected as a first team All-American kick returner by The Associated Press. He set the NCAA freshman record for all-purpose yards in a season, contributing to the Tiger’s 12-1 finish to the 2007 season.