By Miriam Raftery
Flowers, banner at Junior Seau Sports Complex in La Mesa pay tribute to football legend
May 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –East County and San Diego leaders reacted with shock and sadness to news that former Chargers star Junior Seau, 43, was found dead at his Oceanside home today of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A former resident of Mt. Helix and supporter of local charities, Seau also frequently visited the Junior Seau Sports Complex at La Mesita Park in La Mesa that was named in his honor.
“He was always here for us,” La Mesa Art Madrid said, La Mesa Today reported. “He was part of the family in this town.”
At La Mesa Middle School, above the Junior Seau Sports Complex a banner adjacent on a fence adjacent to the football field that says `We love you Junior.’ According to Becky Jackman-Beeler with the city’s parks and recreation department, “That’s where people can put up flowers.”
Seau was found by his girlfriend with a gunshot wound to his chest. Medics pronounced him dead after trying in vain to revive him. The County Medical Examiner has said the case is being investigated as a suicide. A handgun was found beside the body, but no suicide note was left.
A Voice of San Diego article indicates the death raises questions about brain trauma increasingly found in retired football players.
Assemblyman Marty Block (AD-78) issued a statement offering thoughts and prayers to Seau’s family and others associated with him. “In his young life he demonstrated a strong commitment to the greater San Diego community. He will be missed,” Block said.
Chargers president Dean Spanos, at a press conference, called the occurrence “a tragic day for the City of San Diego.” Spanos called Seau “the heart and soul of the franchise for the 13 years while he played here” and also praised his spirit of community service. “He never forgot about the City of San Diego…This is where his roots were. He couldn’t do enough off the field for the youth or anybody he could help, he helped.”
Seau went on to play for the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. “His legacy as a player speaks for itself,” Spanos concluded, then predicted, “He’s going to be in the big Hall of Fame, no doubt about that.”
If you or someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide, do not leave the person alone, remove anything that could be used in a suicide attempt, and contact the national Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 (TALK), a free 24 hour service.