Miami Dolphins star cornerback Xavien Howard’s name appears on police documents as a person of interest in an unsolved Atlanta-area shooting from last summer in which no one was hurt but one round pierced a child’s playroom.
The home is owned by sports agent Damarius Bilbo, who represented Howard until the two parted ways over a business dispute sometime after October.
Howard’s name is in the June 29 police report about the shooting. So is Ray Gibson, 29; Angelica Brown, 27, whose car was spotted at the crime scene; and Leonardo “Ken” Underwood, 45, a Howard associate who appeared to be in contact with Gibson multiple times on the day of the attack before it happened.
Gibson and Brown shared an address, according to the police report, which misspells Howard’s first name as Xavier. Cameras in the development identified a vehicle registered to Brown as entering the subdivision during the time the alleged shooting happened.
Dunwoody, Georgia, police on multiple occasions have requested an interview with Howard, but he has declined, according to a source with direct knowledge of the investigation. The most recent request was made in the past few weeks.
“Xavien was not involved in this incident and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise,” said sports attorney Darren Heitner, who is among Howard’s representation.
The Dolphins, Bilbo and Dunwoody police declined comment for this story.
Howard, 27, is not suspected to have been inside the vehicle when a gunman allegedly fired into the suburban Atlanta home.
Bilbo, who two years ago negotiated Howard’s five-year, $75.3 million contract extension, was not at home at the time of the shooting. But his wife and son were.
Despite a bullet traveling through multiple rooms, no one was hurt. The child later told police that he saw a four-door sedan pull up to the front of the yard, and a black man wearing a grey hoodie, dark pants and flip flops jump out, the police report says.
After the shot was fired, the man jumped back in the car and sped off, according to the report.
Police interviewed Gibson, did not initially charge him and have not been able to reach him since August, despite repeated attempts. Gibson denied involvement in the shooting.
Gibson’s cell phone was turned off during the incident, but police pulled his phone records and discovered that Underwood, a friend of Howard, twice called Gibson on the day of the shooting, including shortly before, a Dunwoody police source told the Miami Herald in January.
Police attempted multiple times to interview Howard about that, but he first declined to speak to police in August, citing a bout with COVID-19, and has subsequently again declined to be interviewed. Investigators contacted Underwood, and he told them he has no recollection of the incident, the source said. They also reached out to DeAndre Fluellen, a Houston-based friend of Howard, but he ignored their call.
ProFootballTalk.com first reported the existence of the police report on Saturday.
It’s unclear if the matter will be investigated by the NFL; all players are subject to the league’s personal conduct policy.
Howard, one of the league’s top defenders who tied the franchise record 10 interceptions in 2020, signed a five-year, $75 million contract extension with the Dolphins in May 2019 — including $39.3 million guaranteed — and that contract runs through 2024.
He’s due to make $12.1 million in 2021.
After becoming the first NFL player since 2007 to produce 10 interceptions in a season, Howard is expected to ask the Dolphins to renegotiate that contract in the coming months, according to two sources.
Howard, who is now represented by South Florida-based agent David Canter, would like to earn more than teammate Byron Jones, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Dolphins last March.
But it’s unclear if the Dolphins will be receptive.