| Sports |

Autopsy: Dave Duerson Folded an American Flag on His Bed Before Shooting Self

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Dave Duerson propped a dining room chair against the front door of his Sunny Isles apartment. He neatly laid out documents on the dining room table and on his bed. He also placed two framed certificates, framed medals, and a folded American flag at the head of the bed. Naked except for a gold necklace, he climbed into bed and pulled a green sheet up to his neck.

A crucifix was tattooed on his upper left chest. A Tasmanian Devil cartoon and two Chinese characters were inked on his left arm.

Apparently propping himself up with his elbows, Duerson held a fully loaded .38 Special in his left hand, aimed for his heart, and shot himself through the chest. The lead slug was later found in his right lung.

The wrenching details come from the autopsy report describing the scene of Duerson's suicide. The body of the 50-year-old former NFL star, who won Super Bowl rings with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, was discovered Thursday, February 17. His fiancée, who was in Chicago, had called the manager of Duerson's apartment building -- Ocean One, at 19333 Collins Ave. -- and authorized him to enter unit 603.

Duerson, formerly a successful businessman, had recently filed for bankruptcy. His ex-wife had taken him to court for failing to declare his Super Bowl rings, a Walter Payton Award trophy, and a Rolex watch. His only significant asset was a $35 million court judgment he was unable to collect. As the autopsy report states, he "also complained of memory loss and inability to spell." As has been widely reported, he texted members of his family before the suicide, asking that his brain be donated to the NFL Brain Bank to see if he had a disorder related to playing-time concussions. Those results are not yet available.

The immaculate and symbolic scene of Duerson's suicide hints that even after losing everything, he remained an immensely proud man. The autopsy report -- we've embedded a couple of less-graphic pages below -- notes, "The walk-in closet in the master bedroom has a football statue, three helmets from different football teams, and three football trophies."

Previously: David Duerson, Bankrupt Former Chicago Bear Who Committed Suicide, Was Sued By Ex-Wife For Super Bowl Rings

From Dave Duerson's Autopsy Report

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.