BREAKING NEWS: Former Richardson Berkner High School Star and Standout NFL Cornerback Aqib Talib Involved in Garland Shooting
After a March 21 altercation involving his sister, his mother, his sister's boyfriend, two guns and at least five shots fired, former local high school football star and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' cornerback Aqib Talib is a "person of interest" on a Garland Police Department incident report and, pending an investigation, could be arrested and charged with anything from discharging a firearm within a municipality (class A misdemeanor) to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (second-degree felony).
According to a GPD initial report about the incident and two sources familiar with the case Talib allegedly attempted to pistol-whip his sister Saran's boyfriend, Shannon Billings, and then, after a struggle, used his mother Okolo's pistol and fired several shots at Billings as he fled the scene on foot.
"The investigation is ongoing," Garland Police Department administration supervisor Captain Patrick McCulley told the Observer on Friday. "But I can confirm that Mr. Talib is a person of interest in the case."
Talib, who lives in North Dallas, could not be reached for comment. His Atlanta-based agent, Todd France, did not return a phone call to the Observer and - per rules instituted by the NFL during its ongoing lockout - the Buccaneers are not allowed to communicate with any of their players.
Talib, 25, was a standout player at Richardson's Berkner High School before a successful career at Kansas led to him being a first-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2008. He is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and at a dinner in Dallas in February he was named by the NFL Alumni Association as the league's 2010 Defensive Back of the year over the Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polumalu and the Philadelphia Eagles' Asante Samuel.
Good play-maker on the field. Bad decision-maker off it.
According to the report and the sources, at 7:30 p.m. on March 21 Aqib Muttaqi Talib went to his sister's home in the 900 block of Green Pond Drive in Garland (south of Bush Turnpike not far from Spring Creek Elementary and Hawaiian Falls Water Park). Saran, who was arguing with Billings, also called her mother for help. Police were directed to Saran's home via a 911 call by neighbors, who reported a domestic dispute and three shots fired at a black male by a black female. According to the report, police arrived to find Billings standing in front of a nearby residence. While interviewing him, officers discovered Billings was a suspect in two pending, related, family-violence offenses involving Saran and arrested him.
When initially questioned, both Saran and Okolo Talib said they knew nothing of an earlier incident at the house. Billings, however, led police to a gun he said belonged to Aqib that Billings had thrown in a neighbor's trash can after escaping his struggle with the player. After finding the weapon and calling forensic investigators to retrieve numerous spent shell casings in the street, officers took a statement from Billings.
According to the report, Billings said Aqib produced a handgun and "attempted to strike him in the face." During the ensuing skirmish Talib dropped the gun and Billings picked it up and began runnning, prompting Okolo to produce a gun and fire three shots toward him. Billings told police that Talib then took Okolo's gun, said "I'll shoot him" and fired at least two shots before Billings safely ducked into nearby woods. Neighborhood witnesses corroborated Billings' story.
GPD detectives are still investigating the case, but one of the sources said Billings' statement, physical evidence and the eyewitness confirmations would likely be enough to present a case to a Dallas County grand jury. Both Okolo and Aqib have retained lawyers and are, according to one source, not cooperating with investigators.
Anger-fueled, irrational and dangerous behavior by Talib isn't unusual.
After he was drafted in the spring of 2008 Talib was involved in a fight with fellow Tampa Bay rookie Cory Boyd at the NFL's Rookie Symposium during a budget and finances meeting in July.
In May 2009 he got into a fight with a teammate at a Tampa Bay minicamp and wound up hitting a peace-keeping player in the face with his helmet.
In August 2009 Talib was arrested in Florida and charged with simple battery and resisting arrest in connection with an alleged assault on a taxi driver. He was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, sitting out the 2010 season opener but still managed to intercept six passes before tearing a hip flexor and missing the final three games. As part of that case, Talib reached a monetary settlement with cab driver David Duggan to avoid a potential civil lawsuit, but was forced to perform 15 hours of community service and, last April, undergo eight hours of anger management before having the case dismissed in November.
And near the end of last season - after a heart-breaking loss to the Baltimore Ravens - Talib reportedly got into a cussing match with a referee and threatened to punch an official before being restrained by teammates.
The severity of Talib's latest trouble will come down to a determination by Garland police of whether he was shooting at Billings, simply firing in the air to scare him, or even shooting at all.