MIAMI - The little girl entered the big gymnasium in a stroller, asleep and oblivious to the 3,000 people on hand to pay last respects to her father, Sean Taylor.
Later, 18-month-old Jackie Taylor was wide awake and running wind sprints past the huge flower arrangements in front of the stage. Wearing a red dress, she stood and applauded with the rest of the audience following the introduction of her father's team, the Washington Redskins. She waved a bottle, sucked on a pacifier and went up and down the front row hugging relatives.
There were plenty of tears at Taylor's 3-hour funeral yesterday, but also ripples of laughter and words of inspiration.
"Let me hear you scream!" shouted the Rev. Jesse Jackson, urging the audience to cheer Taylor's memory. "One more time! This is a celebration!"
Taylor, 24, died last Tuesday, barely 24 hours after he was shot in the bedroom of his home a few miles from where he grew up. Police say he was a victim of a botched burglary, and four young males have been charged with unpremeditated murder.
Three of the suspects were transported from Lee County jail to Miami-Dade County jail last night, said Janelle Hall, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County jail. Charles Wardlow, 18, Jason Mitchell, 19, and Venjah Hunte, 20, were expected to appear in court this morning, Hall said.
The fourth suspect, Eric Rivera, 17, would be processed at a juvenile detention center in Miami-Dade County, Hall said.
A lawyer for one suspect said a fifth suspect was being sought.
Eulogies by family, friends and dignitaries praised Taylor's baby face, shy smile, kindness, warmth, faith and extraordinary athletic skills.
"Many times God must have looked down and said, 'Man, I made a great football player,' " Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said.
On the other side of the state, in Fort Myers, the four young suspects charged in Taylor's death sat in jail cells. Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office, said they could be in court as early as this morning.
Rivera, Wardlow, Mitchell and Hunte face charges of unpremeditated murder, armed burglary and home invasion with a firearm or another deadly weapon. *