AMBRIDGE (KDKA) – A highly-touted local athlete is spending New Year’s Day behind bars after being accused of pulling a gun on a bar owner.
According to sources, Herb Pope allegedly pulled out the gun at the Colonial Grill on Merchant Street in Ambridge on Monday.
Police say officers were present when Pope was denied entry into the bar after one of his friend’s identification cards was rejected. But Pope came back and confronted the owner when police left.
“It was in his jacket. He pulled it out with his right hand simply to show, ‘Hey, this is how it’s gonna be.’ You know, the cops are gone, nobody’s around; as an intimidation factor,” Officer Brian Brooks, of the Ambridge Police Department, said. “He didn’t make any threatening remarks or anything like that; he just simply showed the weapon.”
The owner called 911, and Pope ran into an alley. But authorities say he ran straight into several officers who happened to be in the alley doing surveillance work in an unrelated case.
He told them he had a gun.
“He took off running, and it just happened to be that he ran in the wrong alleyway,” said Officer Brooks. “He ran directly between four officers. We were on the northern side and two other officers were on the southern end of the alleyway. And he ran right between us.”
Pope is now charged with simple assault through menace and public intoxication. Pope graduated from Seton Hall University last year and was back in Aliquippa.
He was arrested for DUI last year and was shot five times in 2007. Pope had a permit for the gun.
“He didn’t want to get shot,” Officer Brooks said. “Basically, he got a permit and a firearm because of an incident where he was shot years ago. So, now he feels that he needs to protect himself with a firearm.”
Police are now reportedly taking action to revoke Pope’s gun permit.
Pope was a stand-out basketball player at Aliquippa High School and played college basketball at New Mexico State before heading to Seton Hall University. In his senior year, he averaged a double-double.
Pope entered the NBA Draft last year, but was not selected and signed a deal to play professionally in Israel over the summer.