Authorities: Birmingham death possibly linked to killing of ex-Packer

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A man whose bullet-riddled body was found dumped along a rural road in Lipscomb apparently was killed in retaliation for the slaying of a former Green Bay Packers player, authorities said Wednesday.

A statement from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said Darryl Thomas, 21, of Center Point appeared to have been killed in retribution for the shooting death of former Packers defensive lineman Carlos Gray, 25.

Thomas’ body was found along a road near Birmingham on Tuesday, the day after Gray’s body was found in his home, also near Birmingham.

No charges were filed immediately in either death, but four suspects were in custody following Thomas’ slaying and at least one was believed to have been a close friend of Gray, authorities said.

Gray, who played at North Carolina State University, signed with the Packers in 2014 and was living in Alabama after being released in 2015.

Authorities said Gray’s girlfriend returned home from an outing to find him dead and called police. Officers discovered marijuana, scales, a handgun and an AK-47 rifle with a high-capacity magazine in the home, the statement said.

The next morning, according to authorities, deputies received a call about a reported kidnapping at a convenience store. A man who wasn’t identified by police said he and Thomas had been abducted at gunpoint by several men. The man told officers he escaped at an intersection but that Thomas did not, officials say.

A passer-by later found Thomas’ body along a dirt road, and authorities determined he had been shot more than once.

All four suspects remain in the Jefferson County Jail awaiting formal charges of Kidnapping 1st Degree and Capital Murder.