CEDAR PARK, Texas - 21-year-old Ronnie Caldwell was shot and killed near Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. on Thursday, according to police.
They have not released any suspect information.
His mother, Blanche Bradley, thought it was a prank at first.
"I hope they never would have to bury their child," she said would be her message to whoever is responsible. "You've caused a family so much turmoil."
Caldwell was a junior safety on the football team and business administration major at NSU. He graduated from Cedar Park High School in 2020.
Coaches and administrators remember him for his kindness and work ethic.
"He was doing so well with his grades, with his classes, with football, and just everything seemed to go be going really well for him. So it was really tough news to hear that," Carl Abseck, who coached Caldwell at Cedar Park, said.
"He showed up every day and smiled and made everybody better. He was a leader and was just nice to everybody that he came across," Phillip Pearce, Cedar Park High School assistant principal, said.
"He was kind, caring, humble, hardworking, an incredible team leader. Everything you want your children to be," Andrew Peterson, another one of his Cedar Park coaches, said.
COVERAGE FROM CEDAR PARK
- Cedar Park residents clean up damage after Thursday morning storms
- Hutto firefighter loses everything in Parmer Lane Fire
- Parmer Lane Fire: Wilco justices of the peace collecting donations for victims
Caldwell had yet to play this season at NSU because of a preseason injury, but continued to travel with the team as a defensive assistant coach.
He was at home last week.
"This weekend, God blessed me to see him. He was like, 'Mom, come on, get up, running late for church,'" Bradley said, remembering how she would do the same to him when he was younger.
Bradley says her son was hoping to move back to Texas after graduation and expand his father's business refurbishing cars. He hoped to one day play in the NFL.
He loved cars, reading, eating, and cooking.
"Ron did not mind washing the dishes," Bradley shared.
Caldwell loved giving back to the community and working with children.
"He would show up at my job, I'm a teacher, and have lunch with a few of the students and talk about how it's okay to be a boy and love sports and still get your math and your reading done," Bradley said.
She says she's grateful for everyone who has been reaching out to her.
"They got me out of bed this morning. God knew exactly what I needed to continue living because I wanted to stop," she said.
Bradley says funeral services will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m. at Olivet Baptist Church at 1179 St. Bernard Street in Austin.