November 26, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Sean Taylor "fighting for his life"

FIRST POST 11:00 a.m. (Jeremy)
'Skins safety Sean Taylor was shot in his South Miami home at 1:45a.m. on Monday, November 26, and was airlifted to a local hospital in critical condition. Sources say he was shot in his femoral artery, the artery was possibly severed, at least was nicked, causing Taylor to suffer severe blood loss. If Taylor survives, and his artery was severed, it is possible that doctors will need to amputate his leg. If Taylor survives and his artery was not severed, it is still possible according to doctors interviewed on Sportstalk 980 that various nerves in the area may be affected by such a wound, impacting Taylor's ability to have full use of the leg.

UPDATED 12:35 p.m. (Jeremy)
Clinton Portis has now spoken to the media at Redskins Park. Apparently the team was told by Gibbs that Taylor is not out of the woods, that he may not survive, and that he lost a tremendous amount of blood. Various message boards and blogs, however reliable they are, are quoting persons close to the family as saying that doctors fear for Taylor's life, and that if Taylor survives, he still faces the prospect of loss of his leg or loss of athletic use of his leg and/or brain damage due to severe blood loss.

UPDATED 12:50 p.m. (Jeremy)
Reports on Sportstalk 980 that Taylor had to be revived twice by emergency medical personnel and reports by both NBC4 and Fox5 in Washington that Taylor is currently in a coma. No word on whether the coma is medically induced or not.

UPDATED 2:55 p.m. (Jeremy)
Somewhat conflicting reports are out there right now. Two of the more grim reports are as follows...

1) According to the University of Miami message boards, one of Sean's high school coaches has been in constant contact with the family. The coach has stated that Sean was shot in an area where it was very difficult to operate. The coach talked to the family around 12:30 p.m. and reported that Sean was out of surgery, that he may need another surgery, and that the prognosis was still critical. Apparently Sean lost so much blood that he suffered brain injury from the lack of oxygen flow to his brain. At a bare minimum, his playing career is over, and if Sean pulls through, there is a very long road to recovery ahead.

2) This is thirdhand knowledge, but a blogger who we are linked to lives in Northern Virginia and has a friend whose father works for the Redskins. Apparently the team is not optimistic that Sean will pull through. Dan Snyder has already left on Redskin One, and was accompanied on his flight to Miami with numerous members of the team. According to this person who works for the Redskins, Sean had decided to stay at his house with his daughter and girlfriend because his girlfriend became scared during this past weeek of what she perceived to be somebody staking out the home.

UPDATED 3:15 p.m. (Jeremy)
More not-so-good news breaking from The Washington Post:
Richard Sparpstein, who has represented Sean Taylor in legal matters in the past and is a friend of the family, said moments ago that the player's life is hanging in the balance in the hospital. Sharpstein, speaking from the hospital, said Taylor is "nonresponsive and unconscious" and the doctors are "worried about a possible brain injury or death." Sharpstein, who has been with Taylor's family at the hospital much of the day, said that there are major worries that Taylor may have lost oxygen to the brain, and that no other procedures are planned for right now. "They're waiting to see if he comes to," Sharpstein said. He was shot in the groin/thigh area near the femoral artery and lost copious amounts of blood. He was airlifted to the trauma center and endured several hours of surgery, Sharpstein said.

UPDATED 4:44 p.m. (J-Red)
By all appearances, this was a robbery. According to Sharpstein, Taylor heard a noise, grabbed a machete, and investigated. Unfortunately, it appears he had brought a (rather large) knife to a gunfight. The Miami Herald has the most complete report on what allegedly took place.

UPDATED 7:48 p.m. (J-Red)
The Washington Post and Redskins Radio are reporting that Vinny Cerrato confirmed that Sean Taylor did squeeze a nurse's hand and displayed facial expressions. Both are signs that his coma is not indicative of brain death. Also, earlier today Joe Gibbs noted that it was strange that Sean did not inform him that he was going back to Florida. There's just something slightly suspicious bubbling underneath the official version of this story.

UPDATED 1:10 a.m. (J-Red)
It's great news from Miami that Sean is responding to commands and squeezing hands. However, the weird information keeps piling up. According to the girlfriend, the phone lines were severed and she was unable to call 911 initially.

Burglars do their research. They don't sever phone lines unless they expect someone to be home. Burglars never want someone to be home. Hitmen sever phone lines, but they don't fire a shot into the groin and miss with the other shot. This reeks of an amateur hit.

Here's what troubles me more: You can't rule out that the girlfriend set Sean up to get killed. I know that Occam's Razor and the Rule of Parsimony say that we should give the most faith to the most obvious explanation, but frankly deciding to rob an injured NFL player at his home on a Sunday night is not the best situation for an opportunistic gun-toting burglar. There are just enough signs of a planned murder that I wouldn't let the possibility slip by quite yet.

UPDATED 7:15 a.m. Tuesday (Brien)
I'm sure J-Red and Jeremy will weigh in on this more when they wake up, but Sean Taylor passed away late last night. He apparently never regained consciousness at the hospital, but he did squeeze a nurse's hand at some point yesterday.

ESPN says that the intruder broke through the bedroom door (the Miami Herald and the Washington Post make it sound like Taylor left the bedroom on his own), which makes this sound less like a burglary. Really, nothing about the incident sounds like an attempted burglary. There was a reported break-in at Taylor's house 8 days ago. The intruder rifled through drawers, but nothing was stolen and a kitchen knife was left on his bed. Then, in the latest incident, nothing was stolen again, and the intruder fled immediately following the shooting.

I'm not ready to pin this on the girlfriend with such limited information, but I'm also not ready to believe that this was an attempted burglary.

UPDATED 1:26 p.m. Tuesday (J-Red)
CNN's version of events is the most complete at this point. Now it appears that Sean and his girlfriend heard noises in another part of the house. According to reports, Sean went to lock the bedroom door when it was kicked in and he was shot. During this, his girlfriend his underneath the covers. It is also now unclear whether the phone lines were cut or if the phone was just off or broken. The police have said there are signs of forcible entry. If this information is true, I'm willing to drop the possibility that she was in any way involved. However, it definitely points to a targeted killing rather than an attempted robbery.

3 Responses:

Brien said...

The Miami Herald says he was shot in the groin during an attempted break-in.

J-Red said...

I think we should try to keep all the speculation about what actually happened to the comments to this post.

Jeremy identified the two main lines of thinking about what actually happened:

1) Botched robbery
2) Targeted attack

There are other possibilities, such as random act of violence (unlikely, based on neighbor's reaction) and jealous ex-boyfriend.

Jealous ex-boyfriend (of Sean's girlfriend obviously) bears some weight, especially considering the butter knife left on the bed in the previous break-in. In addition, nothing was apparently stolen the first time the home was broken into.

I am suspicious about the different accounts as to where in the house the attack occurred. Where did this story about Sean grabbing a machete and going to investigate the noise came from? How did the girlfriend see nothing if this all occurred in the bedroom? Was this literally a shot in the dark?

There are tons of questions I'd like answered, but the first and foremost question is: Did Sean's girlfriend live in the house year round, even when Sean wasn't around? If so, it's possible Sean Taylor is the Ron Goldman of this whole story.

J-Red said...

The Miami Herald now indicates that Sean grabbed a machete, and went to investigate, but was shot and fell back through the doorway into the bedroom. The intruder then fled.

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