Florida State University

Father of Florida State NFL Draft prospect fatally shot

This photo of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph joining autistic middle school student Bo Paske for lunch last August went viral. Rudolph, expected to be picked in the upcoming NFL draft, is in the headlines again after his father was fatally shot in a work accident.
This photo of Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph joining autistic middle school student Bo Paske for lunch last August went viral. Rudolph, expected to be picked in the upcoming NFL draft, is in the headlines again after his father was fatally shot in a work accident. ASSOCIATED PRESS

This should have been an exciting week for former Florida State receiver Travis Rudolph, who is expected to be selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday.

Instead, Rudolph is dealing with the tragic news that his father, Darryl, died from an accidental shooting Friday morning.

Darryl Rudolph, a 55-year-old repairman, was shot in the upper back, near the neck area, in a storage room at Sugar Daddy's Adult Cabaret in West Palm Beach around 9:30 a.m. Friday, according to a press release from the Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office. He later died after being transported to St. Mary Medical Center.

Investigators said Rudolph was at the club doing repairs when the gunshot came from an adjacent room while a coworker was moving a gun off a shelf. The investigation is ongoing. ESPN West Palm Radio first reported the news late Sunday night.

Travis Rudolph, a standout at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, is one of the top wide receivers in Seminoles football history. He had 153 career receptions – seventh on the all-time list -- and 2,311 yards receiving – eighth-best ever. He also scored 18 career touchdowns.

He made national headlines last season when he visited a Tallahassee middle school and sat down to join an autistic student Bo Paske, who was eating lunch alone. The two have remained in contact. The gesture of kindness so touched the boy’s mother, that she posted a heartfelt thank you on Facebook that went viral.

Rudolph said he, too, was touched by the interaction with Paske.

Rudolph is expected to be picked in the fifth or sixth round of the NFL Draft.

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