Fans And Family Mourn Redskins' Taylor

Washington Redskins fans Natalie Ragnati, left, and Amy Goldsmith, comfort each other near a makeshift memorial for Redskins safety Sean Taylor, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2007, at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. Taylor died Tuesday after he was shot in his home a day earlier by an apparent intruder.
AP Photo/Kevin Wolf
Pedro Taylor stood outside his Miami-Dade County home and spoke of the person who killed his son, Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor.

"I think one day he'll come to grips with himself and say, 'You know what, it was senseless' and he'll turn himself in," said Taylor's father, the Florida City police chief.

Family, friends, teammates and the football community across the country mourned the loss of Taylor, the 24-year-old who died early Tuesday of a gunshot wound from an apparent intruder.

"He will truly be missed by all of us," Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell said at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va. "I'll hold him close to our hearts. It's just a tough situation right now, and ..."

Campbell's voice drifted off, and his eyes welled. He could say no more.

Early Monday, Taylor and longtime girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, were awakened by loud noises at Taylor's home in an affluent Miami suburb, according to family friend Richard Sharpstein. Taylor grabbed a machete he keeps in the bedroom for protection, Sharpstein said, then someone broke through the bedroom door and fired two shots, one missing and one hitting Taylor. Neither the couple's 18-month-old daughter, also named Jackie, nor Garcia were injured in the attack.

The bullet damaged the femoral artery in Taylor's leg, causing significant blood loss. Taylor never regained consciousness and died a little more than 24 hours later.

"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy," said Redskins owner Dan Snyder, his eyes red and his voice cracking with emotion.

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he did not know why Taylor returned to Miami during the weekend. Taylor was not required to accompany the team to Sunday's game at Tampa Bay because of a knee injury.

Police had no description of a possible suspect and were investigating whether the shooting was connected to a break-in at Taylor's home eight days earlier, in which police said someone pried open a front window, rifled through drawers and left a kitchen knife on a bed.

I don't know," Taylor's father said, according to the Washington Post. "I can't say. Everybody says Sean is a bad guy who has enemies. [But] Sean is an isolated person who stays to himself."

Police are trying to determine whether Taylor was a random victim or targeted by the shooter, reports the Washington Post.

"They're going to be looking at every angle," Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said. "They're going to be looking at every lead."

Authorities from Miami-Dade Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were in and out of Taylor's home Tuesday. Police were seen taking a computer from Taylor's home.

A stream of family and friends arrived throughout the day. Some embraced outside; most came and went without speaking to a group of several dozen reporters.

At Pedro Taylor's home, the victim's father was met with embrace after embrace by friends and family members when he arrived.

"We're all hurting," said Taylor's father, who spoke privately with Miami-Dade homicide detectives and expressed confidence in the investigation. "I mean that's my child."

The Redskins, too, were struggling to cope, knowing they're scheduled to return to the practice field Wednesday to prepare for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

"I have never dealt with this," Gibbs said. "We're going one hour at a time here."

Snyder said the Redskins will honor Taylor by wearing a patch on their jerseys and his No. 21 on their helmets. The NFL was expected to decide Wednesday how it will handle tributes to Taylor at this weekend's games.