Fresno State basketball guard Joseph Hunter among four arrested on felony weapons charges
THE LATEST: No charges filed against Joseph Hunter
Fresno State basketball guard Joseph Hunter, the big get in coach Justin Hutson’s 2022 recruiting class, was arrested Tuesday night on four felony counts including carrying a concealed loaded firearm, according to jail records.
The San Joaquin Memorial High grad was booked into the Fresno County jail at 12:54 a.m. Wednesday, with a bail amount of $100,000 on each of three felony charges and $50,000 on the fourth.
There also is a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a public officer.
“Fresno State athletics was made aware of this incident and we are working closely with campus officials to ensure that applicable protocols are followed during this time,” the athletics department said in a statement. “Our priority is the safety of our students and campus community. This case is being handled by the Fresno Police Department. We will cooperate with authorities as needed.
“In response to the situation, per our policies, the student-athlete involved has been suspended from all team activities until further notice.”
Hunter, 19, was arrested at North Bengston Avenue and West Ashlan Avenues at 7:16 p.m. Tuesday along with three men: Vonkell Damar Holmes, 22; Isaiah Andre Pirtle, 23; and Qiwan Terry Whittiker, 25.
Felony charges against Holmes, Pirtle and Whittiker all include possession of a firearm by a felon or narcotic drug user. All four remained in Fresno County jail as of 1 p.m. Thursday, according to online records.
The four men were in a vehicle that was stopped by police for a technical traffic violation.
Whittiker, who was the driver, remained in the vehicle while the other three fled, police said. Officers witnessed the three fleeing suspects exit a yard in the 1800 block of West Buckingham Way. When contacted, two of them complied with the officers’ orders while the third continued running and eventually was apprehended with the assistance of a police helicopter.
Officers found an unregistered AR-15 style .223 rifle in plain view in the rear passenger seat. The rifle had a 30-round magazine with 20 live rounds of ammunition.
Whittiker was on parole and open to search and seizure, police said.
Holmes was on probation out of Sacramento for possession of a firearm by a felon.
Hunter, according to the Fresno Police, was arrested on charges of a concealed weapon in a vehicle, carrying a loaded firearm in public and resisting arrest.
Whittiker was arrested for prohibited person in possession of a firearm, Illegally possessing an assault weapon, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, carrying a loaded firearm in public, carrying a concealed firearm, prohibited person in possession of ammunition, parole violation, driving with a suspended driver’s license and driving with tinted windows.
Holmes was arrested for prohibited person in possession of a firearm, illegally possessing an assault weapon, prohibited person in possession of ammunition, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, concealed weapon, carrying a loaded firearm in public and resisting arrest.
Pirtle was arrested for prohibited person in possession of a firearm, prohibited person in possession of ammunition, illegally possessing an assault weapon, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, concealed weapon, carrying a loaded firearm in public, probation violation and resisting arrest.
Fresno State basketball player Joseph Hunter from SJM High
Hunter did not play in his first season at Fresno State after suffering a thumb injury that required surgery. The 6-foot-6 guard was rated a 4-star prospect coming out of San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, regarded as the No. 5 shooting guard in the nation and the No. 8 overall prospect in California.
As a senior, Hunter led the CIF Central Section in scoring at 31.8 points per game and finished his career with 2,337 career points, second-best in school history behind Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green and sixth-best in section history, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
Hunter also averaged seven rebounds and seven assists per game for the Panthers and broke the school record for most points in a game when scoring 54 against Madera South in February 2022, and was honored as The Bee’s 2021-22 Player of the Year.
Hunter had a number of scholarship offers from power conference schools including Arkansas, Cal, Illinois, Nebraska, Ole Miss, USC, Washington and Washington State before signing with his hometown program.