The brother of retired NFL cornerback Aqib Talib turned himself into authorities Monday after police identified him as a suspect in the shooting death of a coach at a youth football game in Lancaster, Texas.
Yaqub Salik Talib is suspected in the Saturday night shooting that killed a man, but it appears that his brother may have something to do with what happened that day.
According to Jason Whitlock, three eyewitnesses are pointing the finger at the retired NFL cornerback for instigating the entire brawl.
Coaches for the Dragon Elite Academy, the team Hickmon served as an assistant coach, blame Aqib Talib for sparking the tragedy.
“Aqib incited the whole uproar,” Dragon Elite coach Kerry Lewis said during a phone interview Monday night. “The game would’ve never been stopped had Aqib not come over to our sideline to yell at the refs.”
Dragon Elite defensive coordinator Marty Barnett added: “Aqib started this. He was the first person to throw a punch. Out of all of the people, he was the one person who could have de-escalated the situation. He was the one person we all would’ve listened to. He could’ve stopped it all.”
Aqib Talib’s attorney, Frank Perez, has since disputed this notion.
“That story is inaccurate,” Perez said Tuesday afternoon. “You need to talk with all of the witnesses, not just the opposing coaches. I will be more than happy to make a statement at the end of the week, when we’ve conducted a full investigation.”
The incident kicked off after a penalty was thrown that gave Dragon Elite a first down. One play later, Dragon Elite scored a go-ahead touchdown. Lewis, Barnett, and a third assistant, Heith Mayes, described the events that led to the fatal shooting.
“Aqib got irate at that point,” Heith Mayes said.
That’s when Aqib walked across the football field to confront a referee. Lewis said Aqib threatened the ref. “I oughta sock your bitch ass now,” the assistants remember Aqib yelling.
“That’s what was so weird. All of the tension was between them and the refs,” Barnett said. “There was no problem between the coaches. We all know each other. Kerry Lewis and Yaqub have coached together. I followed Aqib’s whole career, starting at Kansas. The other thing is that it was their event. They were the hosts. They hired and paid the refs. The refs weren’t cheating for us.”
According to Mayes, Hickmon attempted to pick up the football, but the person working the first-down chains kicked the football into an area where the North Dallas coaches were gathered. Hickmon again tried to pick it up, but then Aqib Talib swung at him. Hickmon retaliated by hitting him with the yard marker.
Hickmon would soon find himself being jumped by multiple people and then gun shots.
“There’s no justification for having a weapon at a kids’ football game,” Lewis said. “It’s 90 degrees outside and you’re wearing a black hoodie. None of it makes sense. Our babies were all there. Yaqub’s kids were there. Mike’s kids. Football fields are supposed to be a safe haven for these kids. This is where they go to get away from the street life. They come here to feel safe. It’s not like that any more.”
Yaqub Talib’s attorney, Clark Birdsall, told The Associated Press that his client “regrets the tragic loss of life but self surrendered this morning so that he may have the chance to say his side of the story.”