DEATH OF SEAN TAYLOR

Miami-Dade police vow to find Taylor's killer

 

A top police official said the killing of Sean Taylor appears to have stemmed from a random crime -- and vowed to solve it.

ocorral@MiamiHerald.com

On the day that Miami-Dade's top cop deemed Sean Taylor's slaying a ''random'' act, his family members were fingerprinted -- to differentiate their prints from any left by the intruder who killed him.

Sean Taylor's 18-year-old brother, Jamal Johnson, and his cousin Emory Williams, 22, were among those to meet with Miami-Dade detectives Wednesday, Williams said.

Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker vowed to aggressively pursue the investigation -- but gave a hint of the challenge confronting detectives by appealing to the public for help.

''We feel there is information from members of the public that has not made it yet to law enforcement,'' Parker said.

Parker vowed his detectives will make an arrest, adding: ``There is no reason to think this is anything but a robbery or burglary involving an intruder.''

Not everyone was convinced that Taylor wasn't targeted.

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antrel Rolle, a friend of Taylor's since they were 6-year-old teammates in South Miami-Dade, told The Associated Press that he believes Taylor had many enemies on the streets of Miami.

''This was not the first incident,'' Rolle said. ``They've been targeting him for three years now. . . . At least, he's got peace now.''

Richard Sharpstein, a prominent South Florida attorney who had represented Taylor, said, ``I'm fairly certain they were burglars -- but they were armed.''

Taylor, a Washington Redskins safety and former University of Miami standout, was shot in the groin in the wee hours on Monday by an intruder who slipped into his home. He died the next morning at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Taylor's girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, the niece of actor Andy Garcia, hid under the covers with the couple's 18-month-old daughter as Taylor was confronting his killer or killers. Garcia and their daughter were not hurt.

The actor broke the Garcia family's silence by issuing a statement to The Miami Herald.

''Sean was known to many as an extraordinary athlete and an unquestionable teammate,'' Garcia said in the statement issued through his Los Angeles manager, Joanne Colonna. ``To those of us who had the good fortune to count him as a member of our extended family, we will always remember him as a caring, and loving individual especially to his new family, his precious daughter, Jackie, and to the love of his life and mother to his child, my niece Jacqueline.''

Palmetto Bay, an upscale village of about 24,000 people that abuts Biscayne Bay in southern Miami-Dade County, was hit earlier this year by an uptick in burglaries. As of March, there had been 29 burglaries in Palmetto Bay, compared with 23 for the same period the year before, according to information provided to The Miami Herald at the time by former City Manager Charles Scurr.

Police arrested several suspects, including four teenagers, in connection with some of the burglaries, Scurr said.

Village Manager Ron Williams said he did not want to comment until Miami-Dade police released the latest crime statistics for Palmetto Bay.

Mayor Eugene Flinn said the village council's priority is to have police on the road. He said Taylor's burglary was unusual.

''I just don't think you can compare what happened here with a typical burglary,'' he said. ``This was not a typical burglary.''

Miami-Dade police held the news conference at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, just hours after his former high school, Gulliver Prep in Pinecrest, held a solemn tribute for Taylor.

Taylor led Gulliver to a state championship and met Jackie Garcia there.

Her uncle credited Taylor with saving her life and her child's.

''His heroic action on that tragic night saved their life and is a testament to his humanity and courage,'' Andy Garcia's statement said. ``His spirit will live forever, in our hearts and through the legacy of his achievements and the family he leaves behind.''

Police asked that anyone who might have seen or heard anything to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS or Miami-Dade's homicide office at 305-471-2400.

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