Tuesday, November 27, 2007

redskins taylor

WASHINGTON (AFP) ― Washington Redskins star defender Sean Taylor died early Tuesday morning after being shot Monday by intruders at his home in Miami, the National Football League club announced Tuesday.

The 24-year-old safety died in a Florida hospital where he underwent nearly seven hours of emergency surgery Monday to repair a severed femoral artery, the team confirmed in a website statement.

"This is the worst imaginable tragedy," Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Sean's family."

Police said Taylor was struck in the leg by a bullet that hit the femoral artery, causing a severe blood loss.

"He did not make it through the night," Taylor's attorney and long-time friend, Richard Sharpstein, told the Washington Post, calling the death "a ridiculous unnecessary tragedy."

Sharpstein also told CNN that "people" entered Taylor's home and fired two bullets, one hitting a wall and the other striking Taylor to start bleeding that he told the Post "could not really be stopped, only curbed a bit."

Neither Taylor's fiancee nor their 18-month-old daughter, both at home when the attack took place, was harmed physically by the intruders in the second break-in there within eight days.

"This was a deliberate attack," Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato told the Post.

Taylor was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital after his fiancee made an emergency call.

"He never regained consciousness," Sharpstein told CNN. "He was unconscious when the fire rescue people arrived. It's a senseless tragic death."

Taylor and his fiancee had been in the bedroom when a disturbance was heard in the living room, Sharpstein said.

"(He) tried to get a small machete that he keeps under the bed to defend himself but the door was burst into," Sharpstein told CNN, adding that Taylor's fiancee hid under the covers until the assailants had fled.

The shooting stunned Taylor's Redskins' teammates, who had been optimistic after reports Taylor had made facial expressions Monday night, his first signs of conscious behavior following concerns of brain damage.

"Seemed like a lot of hope after he responded to the doctor's command, but he lost of a lot of blood," Taylor family friend Donald Walker told the Post.

Sharpstein said he had received a call from Taylor's father, Florida City police chief Pete Taylor, informing him of Taylor's death at about 5 in the morning.

"He was overwrought with grief and called me to tell me that Sean was with God," Sharpstein told CNN.

Eight days before the fatal shooting, an intruder pried open a window and went through drawers and a safe in the home and also left a knife on a bed, according to police.

That break-in prompted Taylor to ask for time away from team meetings to handle matters relating to the incident, which was granted by Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

"For all of us here, we're obviously in shock," Gibbs had said Monday. "I know I can't put it in words."

Taylor was the fifth pick of the 2004 NFL Draft and had a strong 2007 season with 42 tackles and a team-high five interceptions until a November 11 knee injury forced him to the sidelines the past two games.

Taylor made 306 tackles and 12 interceptions in parts of four seasons with the Redskins.

Redskins running back Clinton Portis, a college teammate of Taylor at the Universitry of Miami, lammented Monday that had Taylor not been injured, he would not have been with the team after their Sunday game in Tampa.

"How can you deal with it? It's hard," Portis said. "All we can think about is if he had been with us on the flight to Tampa, if he was at the game with us, then he would not have been in that situation."

Taylor had faced off-field legal issues several times, including a 2004 drunken driving arrest and the dropping of felony assault charges from a 2005 off-season incident involving firearms.

Taylor, who had been ejected from a playoff game for spitting on an opponent, pleaded no contest last year to two misdemeanor charges in connection with the 2005 incident and was in the final days of 18 months on probation.

He had originally faced three felony counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and two battery misdemeanors after a confrontation over an all-terrain vehicle. Police said gunshots had been fired into the vehicle.
Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor raises his hand to acknowledge fans after the Redskins defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia in this January 1, 2006 file photograph. Taylor died on Tuesday after being shot during what


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