A former Crimson Tide football star who took Pelham murder victim Simeon Gilmore under his wing for about a year spoke about Gilmore today, remembering him as a gentle giant.
Gilmore is the brother of NFL player Marcell Dareus who played for Alabama and now plays for the Buffalo Bills.
The body of 19-year-old Simeon Gilmore was discovered in a Pelham home Sunday along with two other victims who were shot to death. Suspect Jon Staggs, Jr., 20, has been charged with capital murder in their deaths.
Thomas Rayam, now a volunteer coach with the Thompson High School football team, and his wife offered Gilmore a place to stay for about a year a few years ago. Rayam says he first met Gilmore when he was 15.
"That's why we got with Simeon because we knew he was heading down the wrong track. Elaine and I tried our best just to be in his life. It's crazy how you wish now you could have done a whole lot more for him," Rayam said.
Rayam described Gilmore as a "gentle bear" of a teenager.
"He played with my kids out in the front yard and all the kids in the neighborhood," he said.
Rayam lives about four miles from the Pelham neighborhood where Gilmore was murdered. He says he had no idea Gilmore was that close.
"My God, it's a tragedy of how teenagers in our lives, we think that are mature enough to handle everything in life. It's not really that way," Rayam said.
Gilmore did not follow his brother, Marcell Dareus, on to a successful football career at a university and pro football. Rayam says Gilmore's death is a warning to all parents and loved ones.
"Where are you kids at?" he questioned. "Where are your kids right now? Know where your kids are," Rayam urged.
Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey expressed his condolences to Marcell Dareus and his family. Gailey said today that Dareus plans to return in time to play in Buffalo's home-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Right now, Marcell is helping his family plan funeral arrangements for his brother.
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