This weekend's college football game between Northwestern State and Nicholls State was canceled Thursday after the shooting death of defensive back Ronnie Caldwell in Louisiana.
Caldwell, 21, was shot and killed in Natchitoches in the early hours of Thursday morning, WVUE-TV reported. A police officer found Caldwell after responding to reports of gunshots, according to the station.
"The Northwestern State family has suffered a tremendous loss," head coach Brad Laird said in a statement. "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.
"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.
"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."
Northwestern State President Marcus D. Jones told the Houma Today Family Day festivities that coincide with the game were also canceled.
Caldwell transferred to Northwestern State from Tyler Junior College before the 2022 season. He appeared in all 11 games last year, starting 10 of them.
He had yet to play in a game this season due to an injury