MIAMI - Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died early Tuesday, a day after he was shot at home by what police say was an intruder. He was 24.
Family friend Richard Sharpstein said Taylor's father told him the news around 5:30 a.m.
His father called and said he was with Christ and he cried and thanked me," said Sharpstein, Taylor's former lawyer. "It's a tremendously sad and unnecessary event. He was a wonderful, humble, talented young man, and had a huge life in front of him. Obviously God had other plans."
He said Taylor died early Tuesday at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where he had been airlifted after the shooting early Monday.
Doctors had been encouraged late Monday when Taylor squeezed a nurse's hand, according to Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' vice president of football operations. But Sharpstein said he was told Taylor never regained consciousness after being transported to the hospital and that he wasn't sure how he had squeezed the nurse's hand.
Maybe he was trying to say goodbye or something," Sharpstein said.
Taylor was shot early Monday in the upper leg, damaging an artery and causing significant blood loss.
According to a preliminary investigation, it appears that the victim was shot inside the home by an intruder," Miami-Dade County police said in a statement.
But police were still investigating the attack, which came just eight days after an intruder was reported at Taylor's home. Officers were dispatched about 1:45 a.m. Monday after Taylor's girlfriend called 911.
Sharpstein said Taylor's girlfriend told him the couple was awakened by loud noises, and Taylor grabbed a machete he keeps in the bedroom for protection. Someone then broke through the bedroom door and fired two shots, one missing and one hitting Taylor, Sharpstein said. Taylor's 1-year-old daughter, Jackie, was also in the house, but neither she nor Taylor's girlfriend were injured.
Police found signs of forced entry, but have not determined if they were caused Monday, or the previous burglary.
The shooting happened in the pale yellow house he bought two years ago in the Miami suburb of Palmetto Bay. Eight days before the attack someone pried open a front window, rifled through drawers and left a kitchen knife on a bed at Taylor's home, according to police.
They're really sifting through that incident and today's incident," Miami-Dade Detective Mario Rachid said, "to see if there's any correlation."
Born April 1, 1983, Taylor starred as a running back and defensive back at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami. His father, Pedro Taylor, is police chief of Florida City.
A private man with a small inner circle, Taylor rarely granted interviews. But, behind the scenes, Taylor was described as personable and smart — an emerging locker room leader.
Especially since the birth of his daughter.
From the first day I met him, from then to now, it's just like night and day," Redskins receiver James Thrash said. "He's really got his head on his shoulders and has been doing really well as far as just being a man. It's been awesome to see that growth."
An All-American at the University of Miami, Taylor was drafted by the Redskins as the fifth overall selection in 2004.