A former NFL running back died Tuesday after accidentally shooting himself in the stomach at a car dealership in Michigan, police say.
Zurlon Tipton, who played parts of two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, was responsive when he was taken to the hospital to be treated for the self-inflicted gunshot wound, but later died of his injuries, according to police.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tipton Was Moving Belongings From His Car When A Gun Discharged
According to FOX 2 Detroit Tipton arrived at Mike Riehl’s Roseville Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dearlership Tuesday morning to have his car serviced, and one of the two guns in the duffel bag Tipton was moving accidentally discharged. Tipton was struck in his stomach with the lone bullet, and according to the report police stated that he was responsive when he was being taken to an area hospital. No one else was injured in the shooting.
Roseville, Michigan Police were notified of Tipton’s passing about 9:30 a.m. according to the Indianapolis Star. A native of Detroit, Tipton attended Parkway Christian HS in Sterling Heights, Michigan. An autopsy will be performed by the Wayne County (Michigan) Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
2. Tipton Was Arrested But Not Charged For A Gun-Related Incident in 2015
On Christmas Day last year Tipton was arrested in Greenwood, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis, for allegedly firing an assault rifle. According to the Indianapolis Star, Tipton arrived at his girlfriend’s home after receiving threatening text messages from her ex-boyfriend that he (the ex-boyfriend) was going to hurt the woman. Per the report Tipton fired a single shot from his AR-15 into the air, believing that the man was inside of the home.
Charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, Tipton was released on $3,000 bond. Tipton, who cooperated fully with the Greenwood Police Department’s investigation into the incident, was not charged in the end.
3. An Undrafted Free Agent, Tipton Played 16 Regular Season Games Over Two NFL Seasons
After playing four seasons at Central Michigan, Tipton was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Tipton was one of the Colts’ final cuts out of training camp, with the franchise signing him to their practice squad after he passed through waivers. Tipton was promoted to the active roster a day before the Colts’ 23-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and spent most of his first four games on special teams.
Tipton received opportunities at running back for the Colts’ final two regular season and three playoff games, rushing for 86 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries during that stretch. The touchdown was scored in the Colts’ 45-7 loss to New England in the AFC Championship Game, a contest that would become the focus of the infamous “Deflategate” scandal.
Tipton would go through a similar process last season, joining the practice squad after being waived just prior to the start of the 2015 campaign and ultimately playing in ten games. Tipton finished the season with 20 yards rushing on five carries and 57 yards receiving on five catches, seeing the majority of his reps on special teams. Tipton was waived at the end of the 2015 season.
4. Tipton Was A Popular Player in the Colts Locker Room
Even though he wasn’t added to the active roster until each of his two seasons in Indianapolis began, Tipton was viewed as a popular player and positive addition to the Colts locker room. Teammates and Colts owner Jim Irsay offered their condolences via social media after learning of Tipton’s death, and Colts running back Frank Gore spoke of his former teammate with the Indianapolis Star.
“This really messed me up,” Colts running back Frank Gore told the Indianapolis Star Tuesday. “Zurlon wasn’t a bad kid. He was a good dude. He really wanted football to work out. He was always great with the playbook but most of all, he was a great person. He loved to have fun. He was always loud and acting crazy in the locker room. That’s just who he was.”
5. Tipton Ran For More Than 2,400 Yards in Four Seasons at Central Michigan
Tipton attended Central Michigan from 2010 to 2013, playing for then-head coach Dan Enos, falling just short of the 1,500-yard mark as a junior in 2012. During that season Tipton earned second team All Mid-American Conference honors, as he rushed for 1,497 yards on 252 carries and accounted for another 287 yards receiving. Nineteen of Tipton’s 20 touchdowns that season were of the rushing variety, as he helped the Chippewas win seven games and the Little Caesars’ Bowl in Detroit.
Tipton missed the first seven games of his senior season due to a broken ankle suffered in the season opener at Michigan, returning for the Chippewas’ final five contests. In those five games Tipton ran for 398 yards and eight touchdowns on 74 carries, ranking second on the team in rushing despite missing more than half the season.