Memphis recruit Mikey Williams pleads not guilty in shooting case

Mikey Williams, an elite basketball prospect who had millions of followers on social media, pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges related to a shooting at his home during a Thursday hearing in San Diego.

Williams appeared via videoconference because of security concerns cited by his attorney, Troy P. Owens. He spoke only a few times, answering, “Yes, sir,” when asked by Superior Court Judge Louis R. Hanoian if he understood his rights and when he was told he couldn’t possess guns or ammunition as a condition of remaining free on a $50,000 bond.

Williams, who is set to play for Penny Hardaway and Memphis next season, was arrested last week on five charges of assault with a weapon and one count of firing into an occupied vehicle. According to police, Williams fired a gun at a carful of people who had just left his residence. A search of Williams’ home preceded the arrest.

“Five people got into a car and as they were driving away, shots were fired,” according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department incident report. “The car was hit, but no one was hurt.”

Owens said the incident unfolded after an “altercation” at Williams’ home near San Diego.

Owens added after Thursday’s brief hearing that he requested for Williams to appear via videoconference because of threats “that are public and online.” He declined to give further details.

Williams will be represented by Owens at a readiness hearing June 15 but he was ordered to be personally present for the preliminary hearing scheduled for June 29.

Williams, ranked 34th in ESPN’s 2023 recruiting class, had millions of followers on TikTok and Instagram before he deleted his accounts after his arrest. Last week, Memphis released a statement that said the school was “gathering more information.”

Hardaway told The Commercial Appeal earlier this week that he didn’t “have enough information” to comment on the case of Williams, a 6-foot-2 prospect.

Williams’ arrest continues a spate of gun-related problems that have rocked college basketball this year. In February, New Mexico State canceled its season and fired coach Greg Heiar after one of his players was involved in what police called a self-defense shooting. Multiple players and coaches from NMSU were connected to the aftermath of that incident, according to police and school investigations.

Also in February, police said Brandon Miller, the former Alabama star and a projected top-five pick in this summer’s NBA draft, transported the weapon that was used in the killing of Jamea Jonae Harris that resulted in murder charges against former Alabama player Darius Miles and another man.

Eastern Michigan’s Emoni Bates, who played at Memphis last year, was reinstated before the 2022-23 season after felony gun charges against him were dismissed following a plea deal.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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