By HECTOR FLORIN
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 09, 2008
RIVIERA BEACH — Donald Charles Elam Jr., older brother of New York Jets safety and former Cardinal Newman High football star Abram Elam, was shot to death Friday a mile from his home. Elam was the third sibling in the family to die by gunfire since 1987.
Just after 12:30 p.m., someone called 911 to report a man had been shot in the 1200 block of 34th Street, police said. Riviera Beach police found Elam, 33, shot in the lower back. He died at St. Mary's Medical Center.
Palm Beach County's Violent Crimes Task Force has taken over the investigation and has revealed few details.
Police said Elam was talking to a man with bushy hair who was sitting in a cream-colored sedan, possibly a Toyota Avalon. It was unknown who fired at him or why.
The New York Jets e-mailed a statement on Friday night:
"Abram learned this afternoon that his brother has been killed; the circumstances of his death are still unclear," it read. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Abram and his family."
Donald Elam as a 14-year-old seventh-grader at JFK Middle School was once the youngest person in Palm Beach County indicted on a first-degree murder charge. Elam was acquitted of that 1989 drug-related shooting. But at 17, he was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and spent two months in jail.
In the mid to late '90s he faced charges of aggravated assault, robbery and weapons possession, among others, state records show.
In February he was arrested on domestic battery charges, which were later dropped.
The Rev. Donald Elam Sr. has seen the sudden, violent loss of other children.
Son Donald Runner, a Suncoast High honor student, died from a gunshot wound to the head in 1987. Daughter Christina Elam, a seventh-grader at Watson Duncan Middle School, died by gunshot in 1999.
Elam said his son was working in a cleaning business with an older sister.
"I'm handling it, thanks be to God," Elam Sr. said.