Northwestern State University announced Thursday they have shut down the rest of their football season and that head coach Brad Laird is retiring following the shooting death of one of their players earlier in October.
“Ronnie was a beloved member of our community, and we miss him dearly,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones in a statement that was issued by the college.
“While our instinct was to return to the field of play following his death, we’ve since learned that the hurt on our team was too deep. Now it is in the best interest of our players, coaches and staff to pause and to take this time to mourn, to heal and to support Ronnie’s family.”
Four games were left on Northwestern State’s schedule.
Laird is resigning after six years as the head coach of the team.
Statement from the Northwestern State Athletic Department
— NSU Demons (@NSUDemons) October 26, 2023
“Due to the loss of Ronnie and the emotional burden it has caused me, I don’t feel I can give my all to these players or this program,” said Laird. “Any coach will tell you that their players become like family, so the loss of Ronnie was like losing a son. I love this program and this university, and I know it will persevere and move forward with the competitive spirit that is at the core of our DNA.”
At around 1:00 AM Oct. 12, the Natchitoches Police Department responded to a call regarding gunshots near University Parkway. When they got there, that’s when they discovered Caldwell, 21, with multiple gunshot wounds.
The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office later pronounced him dead.
On the exact same day, John McIntosh — who was the 27-year-old roommate of Caldwell — was placed under arrest for possession of a gun in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance. McIntosh’s arrest was not connected to Caldwell’s death.
However, one of Caldwell’s ex-teammates was arrested eight days later Oct. 20 after being linked to Caldwell’s death. (RELATED: Jaguars Or Steelers? Browns Or Seahawks? Bengals Or 49ers? Andrew Powell Makes His NFL Week 8 Picks)
“Detectives with the Natchitoches Police Department and agents with Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force have arrested Maurice Campbell II for obstruction of justice, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance,” read a press release from authorities.
The death of Ronnie Caldwell is still under investigation, according to Northwestern State University.