Family, friends, and fans of Northwestern State defensive back Ronnie Caldwell were stricken with tragedy last week.
According to Fox News, the 21-year-old college football star died after he was shot and killed in Natchitoches, Louisiana early Thursday morning, police reported.
Police discovered the young player after reports of gunshots were called in.
As a result of the horrific and shocking news, the Saturday game between Northwestern State and Nicholls State was cancelled.
Northwestern State football head coach Brad Laird released a statment on Caldwell's unfortunate death, saying that Caldwell had a "bright future" ahead and that the loss was "tremendous."
The Northwestern State family has suffered a tremendous loss," Laird said. "Ronnie Caldwell was a young man who had a bright future ahead of him on or off the football field. He was our voice in the locker room. When Ronnie spoke, others listened. "
He added, "The respect our football team had for Ronnie was evident. He did not play a snap this year because of an injury, but his voice resonated with every member of our team from the first player to the 115th on our roster."
Sad and tragic: Northwestern State safety Ronnie Caldwell was shot and killed near campus💔
Caldwell was extremely well respected, and the voice of the team, according to HC Brad Laird.
Ronnie was only 21. pic.twitter.com/2tfiRMPBcg
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) October 13, 2023
Laird continued, "Our hearts are broken and ache for Ronnie's family and friends. His loss will be felt here at Northwestern State, in Natchitoches and in his home. We will treasure the time we spent with Ronnie and the memories we made, and we will hold him and his family in our hearts as we attempt to move forward in the days and weeks ahead."
Prior to the 2022 season, Caldwell had transferred from Tyler Junior College.
Family and friends not only paid tribute to the young star, but also set up a fundraiser for his family to help them properly lay him to rest.
This young man trained with my son growing up and was a part of our community. He was tragically murdered and his week. His family needs help to lay him to rest. https://t.co/YpiF8IsfM6
— Kim Cameron,RN MSN BSEd (@kycameron) October 14, 2023
"Just donated to this young man’s family who is going through an unimaginable tragedy. Please donate Austin family if you can he was one of ours send prayers as well Ronald “Ronnie” Caldwell Jr," another X user wrote.
Caldwell appeared in all 11 games during the 2022 season, and was able to start in 10 of them. Clearly, he will be missed by many.