The lead suspect in the murder of Big L in 1999 was fatally shot in Harlem.
Sources tell DNA Info that Gerard Woodley, 46, was in front of 106 W. 139th St., near Lenox Avenue, when someone shot him in the head Thursday night. The incident occurred at about 11:17 p.m., according to NYPD officials.
Woodley, who lived at the building on W. 139th Street, was pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital, police said. There have been no arrests in connection to Woodley’s death.
Woodley is suspected in four other homicides, and has a history of violent crimes. As recent as September 2015, he was released after serving four years for a weapons charge. His first arrest was in 1990 for a weapon charge, and he was arrested again in 1994 and 1996 on murder charges, but avoided conviction both times, a MTV News report in 1999 stated. In 1999, Woodley was arrested for shooting and killing Big L.
When they were young, Woodley and Big L, whose real name is Lamont Coleman, spent a lot of time together. They grew up as childhood friends. Big L actually featured Woodley on his 1995 debut Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous in a group photo.
Details aren’t clear on why Big L and Woodley had a falling out. Investigators say in 1999 Big L was part of a crew that robbed drug dealers. “Police believe that the rapper would double-cross people he knew by letting the robbery crew know the location of cash-carrying drug dealers prime for a stickup,” sources said.
On February 15, 1999, Woodley went after Big L because his side-business was causing harm to his reputation. Reports at the time say he shot Big L nine times in the face and chest on W. 139th Street, near Lenox, coincidentally the same area that Woodley was gunned down 17 years later.
Woodley avoided getting charged for the murder because the Manhattan District Attorney felt they didn’t have enough witnesses and incriminating surveillance footage.
Investigators believe Woodley’s death isn’t tied to the murder of Big L, claiming anyone had plenty of opportunities to avenge Big L in the 20 years since the incident happened. Currently, there's no description of the suspect available for the public.