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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs' Talib 'a person of interest' in Texas shooting; investigation continues



Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib is a 'person of interest' in a March 21 domestic dispute in Garland, Texas, involving his sister and her boyfriend in which several gunshots were fired, but police still haven't determined whether charges could be brought against the Tampa Bay star.

"I will confirm he is a person of interest,'' Garland police spokesman Joe Harn told the St. Petersburg Times Monday. "This is still an open case. Once the detectives have decided, probably later this week, if there are charges that need to be brought against him or not, because of the high-profile interest in this case, we'll have an announcement.''

Talib, who was suspended one game last season for assaulting a St. Petersburg cab driver in 2009, could face further sanctions from the NFL from his involvement in the incident.

Players are subject to the league's personal conduct code during the owner's lockout of players, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week. The Bucs are not permitted to have contact with players or their representatives during the work stoppage.

Talib's Atlanta-based agent, Todd France, declined comment. 

According to a report in the Dallas Observer, the altercation occurred March 21 near the home of Talib's sister, Saran, 42, in the 900 block of Green Pond Drive in Garland. Talib reportedly attempted to pistol-whip her boyfriend, Shannon Billings, then following a struggle, used the handgun belonging to his mother, Okolo, to fire several shots at the Billings, who fled on foot and was not injured.

Police were initially called by neighbors reporting a domestic dispute. Harn said Monday that Billings was arrested on a charge unrelated to the incident. "His arrest didn't involve the incident we got a call on,'' Harn said.

Dallas County jail records indicate that Billings was arrested on charges of assault with bodily injury and interfering with an emergency call. Total bond was set at $2,500.  

According to the Observer, Talib, who lives in North Dallas, went to his sister's home around 7:30 p.m. and found her arguing with Billings. Saran reportedly had also called her mother for help and police were notified by neighbors of three shots fired at a black male by a black female.

Billings told police that Tailb produced a handgun and attempted to strike him in the face with it. During the skirmish Talib dropped the gun and Billings picked it up and began runnning. Okolo then produced a gun and fired three shots toward him. Billings told police that Talib took Okolo's gun, said "I'll shoot him" and fired at least two shots before Billings safely ducked into nearby woods. The Observer reported that  witnesses corroborated Billings' story.

Harn declined to confirm or deny any details in the Observer's story but did say, "I don't know where (the Observer) got all its information.''

On numerous occasions, Talib has had difficult controlling his emotions, resulting in significant fines from the Bucs and one league suspension.
Shortly after being drafted in 2008, Talib got into a fight with then-teammate Cory Boyd at the NFL’s rookie symposium. In May 2009, Talib inadvertently hit former Bucs cornerback Torrie Cox in the face with a helmet, which he was swinging at left tackle Donald Penn during an argument. Cox required stitches to close a facial cut.
Last year, Talib agreed to a deal with prosecutors to resolve a battery charge after he allegedly hit St. Petersburg cab driver David Duggan while Talib was a passenger in his car. Talib had to perform community service hours and attend anger management classes as a part of the deal. He also reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Duggan. Talib received a one-game suspension from the NFL last season for the 2009 incident.
This latest case could potentially draw the attention Goodell. Although the NFL’s players are currently in the midst of a lockout by team owners, Goodell said last week that he intends to enforce the league’s strict personal conduct policy despite the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.
“The personal conduct policy continues,” Goodell said at last week’s owners meetings in New Orleans. “It applies to everybody in the league. I don’t know how it would apply to the players under this circumstance (the lockout), but it’s something that I feel strongly about, that we owe to our fans.”
It’s expected that the league will administer discipline once the lockout ends for violations that occur during the work stoppage.

[Last modified: Monday, March 28, 2011 4:27pm]


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