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NFL's Sean Taylor dies of gunshot wound

  • Story Highlights
  • Taylor's girlfriend identified as Jackie Garcia, niece of actor Andy Garcia
  • Redskins plan tribute for No. 21, who died after home invasion attack
  • Knife left on bed at Taylor home during prior break-in, police say
  • All-American, 24, died at hospital after attack, police say
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died Tuesday, a day after he was shot by "an intruder who forcibly entered his residence," Miami police said.

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Sean Taylor never regained consciousness after being taken to a hospital, his ex-attorney says.

Police said in a statement that Taylor, 24, died at 3:30 a.m. at a Miami hospital and they were treating the case as a homicide.

"The blood loss was too much. He didn't make it," said Taylor's former attorney, Richard Sharpstein, on CNN's "American Morning."

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said Tuesday that team members will wear a special patch on their uniforms, and Taylor's number, 21, on their helmets, during this weekend's game. Video Watch Gibbs react to news of Taylor's death »

Many of Taylor's fans "loved him because [of] the way he played football," said his father, Florida City Police Chief Pedro Taylor, in a statement to the news media.

"Many of his opponents feared him, the way he approached the game. Others misunderstood him, many appreciated him and his family loved him. I can only hope and pray that Sean's life was not in vain that it might touch others in a special way," Chief Taylor said.

"God is always in control," Pedro Taylor later told reporters. "We have no control of life or death ... we thank Him for all 24 years of having Sean here. I know it sounds short, but that's His will and it was done."

Taylor's father said funeral arrangements would be announced soon, while a makeshift memorial was already sprouting up outside Redskins Park, where fans have been leaving flowers and other mementoes.

Sean Taylor

  • Born: April 1, 1983

  • High School: Gulliver Prep, Miami, Florida

  • Father: Pedro Taylor, Florida City, Florida, police chief

  • Daughter: Jackie, 1 year old

  • 2003 All-American, University of Miami

  • First round, fifth pick 2004 NFL draft

  • Fined at least seven times for NFL infractions

  • Played in 2006 Pro Bowl

  • Reputation as one of the hardest NFL hitters


    Source: AP, NFL

  • "We're going to miss him," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said Tuesday. "I'm not talking about as a player, I'm talking about as a person. I think he was a real leader for us."

    Gibbs said that over the years, he had watched Taylor mature from a cocky youngster to a leader and a devoted father.

    "We have never dealt with this," Gibbs said, adding that the situation was not something a team could prepare for.

    "I don't know how we'll deal with it, except that we're going to all do it together, and I know we've got a great, high-quality bunch of guys here," he said.

    "The thing that I take great heart in is ... the way our team fights and the kind of people we've got on our football team. We've gone through some tough things, everybody knows, this year. But what I've admired about our guys, they come out swinging every week."

    "It's just an incredibly difficult time," Snyder said. "It's a shock. And this is a terrible, terrible tragedy. It's pretty rough."

    The Redskins painted Taylor's jersey number on a grassy area along the road leading into Redskins Park, and his number will be painted outside the Redskins Hall of Fame store at FedExField.

    Sharpstein said that from the time of the attack, Taylor never regained consciousness.

    "There was a brief moment where a nurse felt him squeeze her hand, but that was false hope," the attorney said.

    He called Taylor's death "completely tragic and unnecessary violence" and said the player would be sorely missed. Video Watch fans mourn Taylor's death »

    "People loved him, and he will be long missed by many, many people -- not just his fans, but the family and friends that knew him well," Sharpstein said.

    At 1:45 a.m. Monday, Taylor's girlfriend -- identified as Jackie Garcia, niece of Cuban-born American actor Andy Garcia -- called 911 and said someone had been shot. Taylor was airlifted to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital.

    Sharpstein said Garcia told police what happened as she was hiding under bedcovers during the attack. Video Watch Sharpstein describe Taylor's death »

    "Sean was awakened with his girlfriend and 18-month-old baby," Sharpstein said. There were "noises, thumps in the living room." Taylor "got up and locked the bedroom door. Before he could do anything, the door was kicked in and two shots were fired -- one hit him in the leg, one went into the wall."

    Taylor "was on the floor, nonresponsive, bleeding out and chest heaving, eyes rolled back, and he was pretty much gone from that point on," Sharpstein said.

    Garcia "tried to call 911, and it's unclear whether the phone lines were cut or the phone was broken, or off, or unplugged, or turned off," Sharpstein said. "She had to use her cell phone to eventually call 911."

    "Whether this was a purposeful action in taking Sean's life in shooting him, or whether it was a burglary gone awry, the police are still investigating those circumstances," Sharpstein said.

    The attorney said Taylor was home unexpectedly because of an injury, and "no one expected him there."

    "I think he was surprised or they were surprised to find him there," Sharpstein said.

    Lt. Nancy Perez with the Miami-Dade Police Department said investigators were looking for an "unknown suspect."

    Taylor's home also was reported burglarized on November 18, according to Miami-Dade police.

    During that incident, someone forced open a window and left a kitchen knife on a bed, according to a police report. Several drawers and a bedroom safe had been searched during the break-in, the report said.

    No one knows whether the first invasion is related to Monday's attack, Sharpstein said. "It is a high probability that it was the same people or some related people that returned."

    According to the police report, Taylor's mother reported the break-in, saying it occurred while the house was empty. Police found a window pried open, but could not confirm if anything was missing.

    Observers searching for a motive for his killing put Taylor's police record under renewed scrutiny. In 2005, he was arrested after he was accused of waving a gun at people he believed were stealing his all-terrain vehicles, according to Sharpstein.

    "He got into fisticuffs, but no gun," Sharpstein said.

    After originally being charged with aggravated assault, Taylor pleaded to a misdemeanor battery in the case, Sharpstein said. A civil suit stemming from the case remains open. "There's still a lot of open ends to that," he said.

    Taylor spent four years with the Redskins and was recovering from a sprained right knee at the time of the attack. He didn't play in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which the Redskins lost 19-13.

    Taylor was a first-round pick in the 2004 draft, according to his team's Web site. He played at the University of Miami, where he was an All-American in 2003. He had been a high school standout in the city.

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    Dubbing him "the prototype NFL free safety," the Redskins credited Taylor's team-leading tackling prowess for sending him to his first Pro Bowl after 2006.

    He was regarded as one of the hardest-hitting players in the league. Taylor recorded 257 tackles (206 solo) during his brief career, two sacks and seven interceptions, according to the team Web site. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

    CNN's Patrick Oppmann and Scott Spoerry contributed to this report.

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