Sean Taylor was selected fifth overall in the 2004 NFL draft after starring for Univ. of Miami.
Police remained without a suspect, a team without a star player and a family without a smiling son, as the investigation crept forward Wednesday into the shooting death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor.
Miami-Dade County police said they continued to scour for clues to who barged into Taylor's suburban Miami home early Monday and fired the shot that injured the athlete badly enough to kill him a day later. No description of a suspect has been released and police haven't made available results of Taylor's autopsy or the 911 call his girlfriend placed to report the shooting.
For all the unknowns, however, those close to 24-year-old Taylor appeared immersed in grief, not details.
At Taylor's high school, Gulliver Preparatory, hundreds of students gathered for an emotional memorial in which the player was remembered as much for his persona off the field as his unyielding defense on it.
"You found yourself drawn to him," said John McCloskey, one of Taylor's coaches at Gulliver. "He would charm you with his soft-spoken nature and his polite demeanor."
Authorities took numerous pieces of evidence — including a computer — from Taylor's home for examination and police continue to probe a possible connection between the shooting and a burglary at the home eight days earlier.
Speakers at the memorial sought to contrast the Taylor they knew with the one often portrayed in the media by his lapses — a drunken driving charge that was dismissed, his firings of two agents, numerous fines and an incident two years ago in which he was accused of brandishing a gun.
"It's sad that everybody thinks he's this aggressive and mouthy athlete," said Arriana Marion, who went to high school with Taylor. "He was really just a phenomenal person."
Gulliver football coach Earl Sims said Taylor's returns to his alma mater were met by adoring students.
"The whole energy in the room changed because everybody's eyes lit up and they were listening for the words that fell off his lips," he said. "Every time he spoke, the environment changed."