SANTA CLARA, CA-- Former Spokane Shock player, Johnie Kirton, was found dead in a Santa Clara hotel room Monday night.
The 26 year old played with the Spokane Shock from June of 2009 through the end of the season. Kirton was a member of the team when the Shock won the ArenaCup and Conference Championship.
Kirton was most recently playing for the San Jose SaberCats.
In a press release the Arena Football League said “The Arena Football League is deeply saddened by the news that we’ve lost one of our players this morning. Johnie Kirton, 26, made lasting memories over three seasons with the Chicago Rush, Arizona Rattlers, and San Jose SaberCats. Information about his passing is limited at this time, but we hope that everyone will respect the privacy of the Kirton family and all those who knew Johnie as his loss is grieved.”
According to MercuryNews.com Mark Grieb, the team's star quarterback said a teammate discovered Kirton's body after a receiving a call from the player's girlfriend. She was concerned that she couldn't reach Kirton and asked the teammate to look in on him.
MercuryNews.com says the Santa Clara police Captain Phil Cooke said they received a call to a Santa Clara hotel room shortly after 11 p.m. Monday where they found an unidentified man dead. Cooke said he would not speculate on the person's identity until it was confirmed, but that there was no reason at this point to suspect any crime had been committed in connection with his death.
The SaberCat players will honor the memory of Johnie Kirton by wearing stickers on their helmets with the number 37 in their game this Saturday against the Milwaukee Mustangs.