Natchitoches Police investigate homicide on University Parkway

A 21-year-old Northwestern State University football player from Texas was killed early Thursday morning in an apparently unprovoked shooting at the Quad (Frog Pond) Apartments on University Parkway.

The Natchitoches Police Department issued a brief statement confirming it is investigating a homicide that occurred around 1:08 a.m. at the location.

“NPD officers were dispatched to 3800 University Parkway in reference to gunshots in the area.  Upon officers arrival they located Ronald Caldwell  Jr. (B/M, 21 years old, of Manor, TX) suffering from several gunshot wounds.  Caldwell was pronounced deceased by the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office as a result of his injuries.

“This investigation is ongoing and the Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.”

At the time of the release, no arrests have been made, said Corp. John Greely, NPD’s public information officer.

Caldwell was a second-year starting defensive back on the team. He made the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Fall Honor Roll for having at least a 3.0 grade point average in 2022. He was a business administration major at Northwestern who planned to open a health-focused business after graduation.

He was one of eight siblings, four sisters and three brothers. He graduated with a 3.4 g.p.a. from Cedar Park High School in the Austin metroplex and played two seasons at Tyler Junior College, where he had a 3.7 g.p.a.

Caldwell was a youth league baseball coach this past summer in Natchitoches.

He was recently injured and missed the team’s last game, at Lamar, and went home to spend time with his parents and family members, sources close to the NSU team said.

The NSU team is scheduled to play a Southland Conference game Saturday afternoon at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. The status of that game will apparently be decided later today.

University president Dr. Marcus Jones distributed the following statement to the university community of faculty, staff and students:

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of one of our current students, Ronnie Caldwell Jr. Ronnie was a talented junior business administration major from Austin, Texas. Ronnie’s dedication to the community was truly inspiring, as evidenced by him spending the summer coaching a local youth baseball team, teaching those children the values of competition and sportsmanship.

“During these difficult times, I extend my deepest condolences and offer my prayers to Ronnie’s family and friends. The entire NSU community shares in your grief and sorrow. Counseling and support services are available to all students, faculty, and staff who may need them.

“While we mourn the loss of Ronnie, let us also honor and celebrate his life. Ronnie will forever be cherished as a beloved member of the NSU family.”

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