Mom of NFL player who fatally shot self by accident: 'He was always happy'

- A former NFL running back from metro Detroit is dead after accidentally shooting himself at a car dealership

Zurlon Tipton was just 26 years old, was fatally wounded in the stomach and his grieving mother is talking to FOX 2.

Tipton had been alert and talking at Mike Riehl's Roseville Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership after he accidentally shot himself. But sadly he never made it out of surgery.

"(It’s like) he will be pulling up any minute," said his mother Cortrice Boone. "You know, it don't seem real."

Cortrice Boone still can't believe her 26-year-old son is gone.

She says Zurlon Tipton, a former NFL player, was visiting from Indiana for the week and his mother didn't even know he went to the Chrysler dealership in Roseville to get a transmission leak fixed until she got that fateful call.

Police say Tipton was moving a duffle bag with two of his guns inside when one accidentally went off and shot him in the stomach.

"At first you don't believe it," Boone said. "I went to the hospital and he was in surgery for a couple of hours and I haven't talked to anybody but I'm thinking everything is okay. Then I went home and I (said) to call me when he's out of surgery. And then they called us and told us the bad news."

Police say the two handguns were registered to the victim, who is a CPL holder. But reportedly this isn't the first time Tipton has been in trouble for his gun going off.

He was charged in Indiana last year with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon after he fired an AR-15 assault rifle to scare a girlfriend's ex-boyfriend.

And now this, which police say was a careless accident that luckily did not injure others inside the busy service center.

"Our people here are all here safe, our customers are safe," said Mike Riehl, the dealership owner. "It's a big shake up when gun goes off in shop area, it's very loud."

"If you know you have handguns in a bag and you are stuffing other items on top of it, the potential for pulling the trigger inadvertently with an object today was there that's what happened by all accounts," said Deputy Chief Donald Glandon, Roseville police.

Tipton is from Sterling Heights. The father of a 6-year-old daughter is a former Central Michigan football player. He also played for the Indianapolis Colts for two seasons before he was released from the team in 2015.

"He was always happy," Boone said. "He could make people mad but best believe, two minutes later make them laugh."

Police say it is not clear why Tipton was in possession of two handguns. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
 

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