Northwestern State Cancels Season as Homicide Probe Continues
Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana has decided to cancel their remaining football games for the 2023 season. A statement on the school's website says the cancellation stems from the recent passing of football player Ronnie Caldwell, a junior from Austin, Texas. The school "cites the mental health and wellbeing of its student-athletes as the primary reason for its decision."
On Thursday, October 12, Natchitoches Police found Caldwell dead at his apartment complex near the university. He had been shot several times.
The Northwestern State/Nicholls football game scheduled for Saturday, October 14 was canceled. The next game against Southeastern Louisiana was played as scheduled. During that game, the two teams agreed to run one play to honor Caldwell.
The Demons next scheduled game was set for Saturday, October 28 against McNeese. However, that game as well as the three games following have been canceled.
According to reports, no one has been charged with the murder of Caldwell, however, there have been two arrests in connection with the investigation. John McIntosh, who was Caldwell's roommate, was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm in the presence of controlled dangerous substances. He was released on bond.
Most recently, a football teammate was arrested. Maurice Campbell II, 22, was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.
The President of Northwestern State issued the following statement, "Ronnie was a beloved member of our community, and we miss him dearly," said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones. "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."
The head football coach of Northwestern State, Brad Laird, has submitted his resignation, which has been accepted by the school.
Until recently, the SFA Lumberjacks and Northwestern State were Southland Conference rivals. SFA traveled to Natchitoches earlier this season and defeated the Demons 41-7.
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Gallery Credit: Danny Merrell