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Old 12-01-2007, 08:00 AM   #342
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The four men arrested in the shooting death of NFL player Sean Taylor didn't plan to kill him, authorities say.

"They were expecting a residence that was not occupied, so murder or shooting someone was not their initial motive," Robert Parker, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, said Friday night.

"They were certainly not looking to go there and kill anyone," he said. "Their obvious motive was to go there and steal the contents of the house."

Police have more than one confession in the case and the individuals will be charged with murder, Parker said.

Taylor, 24, died Tuesday, a day after he was shot during an apparent burglary at his Miami home.

The suspects are Venjah K. Hunte, 20; Eric Rivera Jr., 17; Jason Scott Mitchell, 17; and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow, 18.

Additional arrests are possible, Parker said.

"The key to solving this case was citizens' tips," he said.

The men knew Taylor lived at the house, Parker said.

A police official told CNN they are investigating the possibility that one or more of the suspects knew members of Taylor's family.

At 1:45 a.m. Monday, Taylor's girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, called 911 and said someone had been shot.

Authorities have said she told police she was hiding under the bedding during the attack.

Garcia did not see what happened and could not provide a suspect description, Parker told reporters on Wednesday.

Police said Garcia and Taylor were awakened by noise in the living room, and that Taylor got up and locked the bedroom door, but the door was kicked in and two shots were fired, one striking him in the leg.

Garcia tried to call 911 but was unable to, and used her cell phone instead, police said. There was no evidence the line had been cut, Parker said Wednesday.

A break-in was also reported eight days earlier, Miami-Dade police said.

A police report said someone forced a window open and left a kitchen knife on a bed. Several drawers and a bedroom safe were searched during the break-in, according to the report.

Taylor was home unexpectedly because of an injury, his former attorney, Richard Sharpstein, told reporters Tuesday. "I think he was surprised or they were surprised to find him there," he said.

Taylor spent four years with the Washington Redskins, but had been out with a sprained right knee. He did not play in Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

Taylor was a first-round pick in the 2004 draft, according to his team's web site.


He played at the University of Miami, where he was an All-American in 2003, and was also a high school standout in the city. Dubbing him "the prototype NFL free safety," the Redskins credited Taylor's team-leading tackling prowess for sending him to his first Pro Bowl after 2006.

He was regarded as one of the hardest hitting players in the league. Taylor recorded 257 tackles (206 solo) during his brief career, two sacks and seven interceptions
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