Bucs’ Talib involved in a possible second-degree felony shooting incident

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Aqib Talib intercepts the ball on a pass meant for Washington Redskins Malcolm Kelly (12) in the second quarter during their NFL football game in Landover, Maryland October 4, 2009. REUTERS/Molly Riley (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

According to a report by the Dallas Observer, Buccaneers’ cornerback Aqib Talib has lawyered up after an incident occurred on March 21 involving his sister Saran, his mother Okolo, his sister’s classy boyfriend Shannon Billings, two guns and at least five shots fired. Details are below.

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.

It sounds like Talib was trying to defend his sister from her violent boyfriend, which is admirable. But if the above report is accurate, there didn’t seem to be the need for Talib to open fire on Billings (who was fleeing the scene). I get the idea of trying to protect your family but you still have to use your head. Pending an investigation, he could now 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). Furthermore, what if an innocent bystander got hit by one of Talib’s bullets? Obviously he doesn’t have the best aim, so he could have killed someone other than Billings. If he’s going to fire a gun (or his mother’s gun for that matter), he needs to be more responsible.

But hey, I wasn’t there. I’m just going off of what the report says. Maybe Talib felt provoked and fired the gun because he believed everyone’s life was in danger. Maybe he didn’t even fire the gun and Billings is lying. Talib does have the right to bear arms in this country and until more details come out, we (I) shouldn’t pass judgment.

That said, this isn’t the first time Talib has gotten into trouble since being drafted in 2008, so he’s forfeited the right to receive the benefit of the doubt in this situation. If he is charged with a crime, the NFL will surely suspend him, which will be yet another hit to his promising career. According to the Observer, he and his mother aren’t cooperating with investigators so things don’t presently look good for the corner (even if he is only a person of interest).

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