As the old biblical adage goes, “You live by the sword, you die by the sword.” Some say that Gerard Woodley “lived by the sword.” The 46-year-old (pictured on the far right in the photo above) has long been suspected as the gunman that shot his friend and hip-hop icon Big L nine time in the face and body, killing him before he had his shot at the big time. That is not the only body he is suspected of dropping. Nevertheless, he was never convicted. However, something caught up to Woodley on Thursday night. He was gunned down, himself, in Harlem.
Gerard Woodley, 46, who is suspected in four other homicides, was in front of 106 W. 139th St., near Lenox Avenue, about 11:17 p.m., when someone shot him in the head, NYPD officials said.
Woodley, who lived at the West 139th Street building, was pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital, police said.
There were no immediate arrests and police didn’t release a description of the suspect.
According to the reports, Woodley had a “long history of violent crimes.” He’d just been released from prison after serving four years on weapons charges. According to law enforcement, Woodley was trying to stay off the radar, but he allegedly “got involved in illicit business in New Jersey, which may have led to his murder.”
Woodley was busted for the first time in 1990 on a weapons charge, hen again in 1994 and 1996 on murder charges, which he beat. In 1999, he was arrested in connection to Big L’s death. DNAInfo reports:
Woodley and Big L, whose birth name was Lamont Coleman, were childhood friends and often spent time together, family said. Woodley appeared on the back cover of Big L’s 1995 debut album “Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous.”
“They were good friends. We were friends with the family even after he was killed. We still talked,” said Woodley’s aunt, Rosa Townes, 85.
Investigators believe that in 1999, Big L was part of a crew that robbed drug dealers, sources said. 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.
Though the details are sketchy, sources believe that Big L’s side-business was deleterious to Woodley.
The two had a falling out and Woodley exacted revenge on Feb. 15, 1999, shooting Big L nine times in the face and chest on West 139th Street, near Lenox, reports said at the time.
Police arrested Woodley, but the Manhattan District Attorney later dropped the case against him because they felt they didn’t have enough witnesses and couldn’t find any incriminating surveillance footage, sources said.
Federal investigators were also closing in on Woodley on a guns case, sources said. Prosecutors knew he was likely to do time on those charges so they didn’t pursue the murder case as aggressively, sources said.
It is not believed that Woodley’s murder was any retaliation for Big L’s.