Attorney Says 3 Detained In Taylor Investigation

An attorney and family friend for Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor said three people have been detained in the Fort Myers area for questioning in connection with his death.

Richard Sharpstein confirmed Friday that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Miami-Dade police detained two teenagers and a third person, Local 10's Rad Berky reported.

[Sharpstein also disputed an earlier police statement that the break-in at Taylor's home that led to his shooting was random. He told ABC Radio's Donna Rapado that he believed the intruders targeted Taylor, they knew of him, that he was rich and where he lived.]

The Miami Herald reported that investigators believe the three [in custody] learned of Taylor's house through someone who unwittingly set up the burglary by bragging about his wealth. The newspaper reported their ages as being 17, 19 and 26.

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Investigators removed a large amount of physical evidence from Taylor's Palmetto Bay home after he was shot early Monday morning. Berky has learned that evidence can place the two or three people in the house.

Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Lt. Nancy Perez would only confirm that homicide detectives are in Fort Myers, but she would not say why.

Taylor's mother on Thursday said she has her own ideas about the death of her son but prefers to keep them to herself and let the police investigation play out.

"It's very hard to say," said Donna Junor. "But I have some thoughts in my mind."

Many of Taylor's family members gathered at the small house in Homestead where he spent much of his time growing up. Junor seemed to show her frustration with the attention focused on Taylor's past brushes with the law when asked about statements that having a young daughter had changed him.

"He was not exactly a bad person, so I don't see where he was turning his life around because of a baby," she said.

Taylor died early Tuesday morning, one day after he was shot in his home during a random burglary, Miami-Dade Police Department Director Robert Parker said.

"There is some information that is known by members of the public and we believe that information hasn't reached law enforcement," said Parker.

Funeral services will be held at the Pharmed Arena at Florida International University on Monday, Dec. 3, at 11 a.m. The services are open to the public, but seating is limited.

At a news conference Wednesday, Parker said there are no suspects because there were no witnesses who could give police a description of the person or people responsible for the killing, but he urged anyone with information to call police or Crime Stoppers.

Parker also said that there were no indications that Taylor was targeted or knew his assailant.

"There is nothing thus far in the investigation that indicates that there was an involvement on the victim's part," said Parker.

Local 10's Rad Berky reported that investigators are focusing their attention on the friends, or more likely, friends of friends of Taylor, who may have visited the NFL star's home.

Parker said evidence indicates that one or more intruders barged into Taylor's home. Parker called it "a random event" and said police are looking at the home as a "bona fide" crime scene.

But on Tuesday, Richard Sharpstein, an attorney speaking on behalf of Taylor's family, said the shooting was not random.

"There are too many coincidences," said Sharpstein. "It's clear this house was targeted."

Recreating Events

Sharpstein said Taylor, his girlfriend and Taylor's 18-month-old daughter were in the bedroom of Taylor's home when Taylor heard noises in the living room.

Sharpstein said Taylor went to investigate and was carrying a machete that he keeps in the bedroom. The intruder kicked in the door and then shot twice, hitting Taylor once in the leg, the attorney said. Taylor lost a significant amount of blood because the bullet hit his femoral artery, Sharpstein said.

Miami-Dade police went to Taylor's home at 18050 Old Cutler Road in Palmetto Bay after receiving a call from a woman around 1:30 a.m. Investigators later identified the woman as Taylor's girlfriend, Jackie Garcia. Garcia is the niece of actor Andy Garcia and the mother of Taylor's daughter, also named Jackie.

Monday's break-in was at least the second for Taylor in less than two weeks. Taylor's home was ransacked and items were stolen on Nov. 17, Sharpstein said.

Taylor had closed the storm shutters on his home after the earlier break-in. During that entry, someone made his or her way through a front window, according to a police report. The house was ransacked and there was damage to an air conditioning duct in the bathroom, where someone may have believed there was something hidden, Berky reported. A kitchen knife was left on the bed, according to the police report, but it wasn't until after Taylor was killed that police began to analyze evidence collected from the first break-in, Berky reported.

"We have no reason to think that this was anything but a burglary or a robbery involving an intruder," said Parker.

He also said police are looking for more than one person and hoped an arrest would be made "shortly, in short order."

Meanwhile, Junor said she was thankful of Taylor and Garcia for her "beautiful granddaughter, and I want to enjoy her for the time."

"Whoever took him doesn't understand what they took from us," said Taylor's cousin, Nicole Matthews.

Taylor's Background, Playing Career

Taylor played football at the University of Miami, where he was a member of the 2001 national championship team as a freshman. In his final season with the Hurricanes in 2003, Taylor was a consensus first-team All-American and named Big East Conference defensive player of the year. He was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back.

He left school early and became the first UM player selected in the 2004 NFL draft when the Redskins picked him fifth overall.

Last June, Taylor agreed to a plea bargain in court on charges that he brandished a weapon at people he suspected had stolen some all-terrain vehicles from his South Florida home. Taylor agreed to 18 months of probation.

Taylor was in his fourth season with the Redskins. He led the team with five interceptions but missed the last two games with a knee injury. The 212-pound safety played in his first Pro Bowl in 2006.

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