Zurlon Tipton, Former Indianapolis Colts Running Back, Dies After Accidentally Shooting Himself [UPDATE]

Former Indianapolis Colts running back Zurlon Tipton died Tuesday afternoon after a gun he was carrying accidentally discharged, according to Roseville, Michigan, police officers.

Police officials say that a man had reportedly pulled into a service bay at a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Roseville, Michigan, around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. The man, later positively identified as Zurlon Tipton by the Wayne County Medical Examiner, went to pull a duffel bag out of the trunk of his vehicle when one of the two guns inside the bag accidentally went off, striking Tipton in the stomach.

The Roseville, Michigan Police Department said they received a call from St. John Hospital and Medical Center stating that Tipton had been transported there following his injury. Police officers said they initially expected 26-year-old Zurlon Tipton to survive the accidental shooting as he seemed to be in good condition and was speaking with people while being transported to a St. John Hospital. Unfortunately, Tipton later succumbed to his injuries and died in the hospital, reports Fox59. No other injuries were reported.


Zurlon Tipton, who played for Central Michigan University before being signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2014, was no stranger to guns. On December 25, 2015, Tipton was arrested on charges of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon after allegedly showing up at his girlfriend’s house, brandishing a Colt AR-15 assault rifle, and firing a round into the woman’s house.

According to Fox59, Zurlon and his brother, Cortez Tipton, had been at a party when Zurlon received text messages from his girlfriend saying that her life was in danger, and her ex-boyfriend had been sending her threatening messages. When the Tipton brothers showed up at the girlfriend’s house, they discovered that the ex-boyfriend was not in the house, and after firing a shot, the two brothers fled. They were later picked up by police, where Zurlon was found to also be carrying a 9mm handgun.

[Update] Police Chief James Berlin said the handgun said the handgun that discharged, ultimately killing Zurlon Tipton, was a.45-caliber semi-automatic that was registered to Tipton, who had a concealed pistol license.

Fellow Colts running back Frank Gore issued a statement following the death of Tipton, reports IndyStar, saying that the ex-running back was a good guy, who “loved to have fun.”

“This really messed me up. 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.”

Central Michigan University Director of Athletics Dave Heeke echoed Gore’s sentiments in his own statement, issued late Tuesday afternoon.

“This is shocking and tragic news, and our condolences go out to Zurlon’s family and friends. We knew Zurlon as a good guy, a captain and a student who grew as a person and a player on his way to getting his degree at CMU. What he did on the field in his career established him as one of the top running backs in CMU history.”

Former teammates and friends of Tipton’s have taken to social media to express their grief about his untimely death.

Tipton played two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, where he accumulated 38 yards in five rushing attempts and caught five passes for a total of 125 yards. Tipton was waived by the Colts on December 21, 2015, just days before his Christmas arrest for the shooting at his girlfriend’s house.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner says they are expecting to receive Zurlon Tipton’s body later today, and an autopsy is scheduled on the former NFL running back sometime Wednesday.

[AP Photo/John Minchillo]

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