Illinois staff member arrested for pointing gun at fellow coaches

Illinois staff member arrested for pointing gun at fellow coaches

A member of the Illinois coaching staff has been charged after allegedly pointing an unloaded handgun at a vehicle carrying other staff members.

Matt Sinclair (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

Matt Sinclair (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

Matt Sinclair, Illinois’ assistant director of player personnel and relations,  was arrested Saturday and charged with four counts of unlawful use of weapons after he allegedly pointed a gun.

The incident occurred following Illinois’ win over Purdue.

Sinclair, who played linebacker for the Illini from 2001-04, was arrested at around 3 p.m. Saturday after a witness in a car behind Sinclair claimed he aimed a gun at a blue SUV. The SUV contained other full-time football staff members, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Police say Sinclair said he pointed the gun as a joke.

“We’re aware of the current situation concerning staff member Matt Sinclair,” Illinois coach Tim Beckman said in a statement.

“He clearly had a lapse in judgment after returning to Champaign-Urbana on Saturday. He is in the early stages of the legal process. We’re still gathering all the information about the incident and I don’t intend to comment further at this time.”

Sinclair appeared in court for arraignment Monday, facing faces three Class 4 felony charges each punishable by one to three years in prison. He also faces a fourth charge for possession of brass knuckles, a Class A misdemeanor.

The case was delayed until Dec. 3 so that Sinclair can obtain counsel, authorities said.

In 2004, Sinclair was convicted of battery and served a year of probation.

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