LA Sparks players were next door to nightclub during Istanbul attack

Los Angeles Sparks players Essence Carson (left) Jantel Lavender (center) and Chelsea Gray (right). (AP Photo/Jim Mone/Mark J. Terrill)

A handful of WNBA players, including Essence Carson, Chelsea Gray and Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks, were next door to a deadly shooting in a nightclub in Istanbul early Sunday morning.

Sparks coach Brian Agler confirmed to The Associated Press that Carson had texted him that the three players were OK. The WNBA later told the AP that all of its players in Turkey were accounted for.

An assailant believed to have been dressed in a Santa Claus costume opened fire at a nightclub in Istanbul during New Year's celebrations, leaving at least 39 people dead and wounding 69 others in what the province's governor described as a terror attack.


Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Sunday that of the victims identified so far, 16 were foreign nationals. He did not provide any information on their countries.

Carson had tweeted earlier in the evening that she was "stuck inside of the club because of 'terror' shooting in Istanbul. Praises to the most high."


About two dozen WNBA players are in Turkey during their offseason playing in a league there.

The incident occurred a week after the WNBA started offering to its players a phone application to assist them in trying to stay safe while traveling overseas.

The league has partnered with LiveSafe, a safety communications platform, to provide a mobile security app to its 60-plus players competing in Russia, Turkey, China and other countries this offseason.

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Related Topics:
sportsLos Angeles SparksIstanbul attackterror attackterror threatterrorismshootingmass shootingu.s. & world
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