Caldwell family to sue Northwestern State University over son’s death

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The family of Ronnie Caldwell, the Northwestern State football player who was killed on October 12th, will file a lawsuit against the school this week.  Three days before he was killed Caldwell told his parents his roommate 27-year-old John McIntosh threatened him with a gun. They asked coach Brad Laird to move Ronnie to another location. Attorney Troy Pradia said if Laird had only called the cops on McIntosh…

“He would have been arrested and Ronnie Junior would be here with us,” said Pradia.

The family said Laird assured them he would help but nothing happened and the next time they heard from him was a phone call that Ronnie was dead.

While fighting back tears, Ronnie’s mother said no parent should ever have to go through this and they trusted the school to protect him…

“We send our kids to college to send our child back better, grow them bigger and better, than what we sent to you, not the way they sent my kid back home,” said Blanche Caldwell.

Pradia said they don’t know exactly why the school chose to end the football season early or why Laird stepped down.

“We think we know the reasons why, because he knew that he didn’t report, or get help for Ronnie, Junior. So that’s what we believe but there’s still some unanswered questions,” said Pradia.

Caldwell moved from his original apartment due to mold and was placed with McIntosh at The Quad Apartments, owned by Campus Advantage. Pradia said McIntosh was not a student and had a criminal history.

McIntosh has been charged with possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance. He’s been released on bond from the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

One of Caldwell’s ex-teammates, 22-year-old Maurice Campbell, II has also been arrested in connection with the case, 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.

“The Caldwell family is heartbroken as we recover from the process of laying our dear Ronnie to rest this past weekend. We ask that you continue to cover our family in prayer as forge ahead through this tragedy and live a life without our beloved son. We would like to share some background on the events that led up to the final days of Ronnie’s life and what we believe to be the cause of the resignation of Northwestern State University (Natchitoches, Louisiana) Head Football Coach Brad Laird.

Due to mold in his unit at The Quad Apartment Complex, Ronnie was moved away from his original football teammate and roommate, was relocated to a new apartment within the same complex. The Quad Apartments are owned and managed by Campus Advantage, headquartered in Austin, Texas. Ronnie was somehow placed with a new roommate, who was a non-university non-college student. He also had previous run-ins with law enforcement. Guns and drugs were subsequently discovered in the new roommate’s possession upon his arrest.

After a series of verbal altercations, Ronnie’s new roommate pulled a gun on him on October 9th. Ronnie immediately reported this to his parents. Ronnie’s father immediately sent a text to Northwestern State Head Football Coach Brad Laird alerting him that he needed help and that Ronnie’s roommate had pulled a gun on him. Coach Laird replied with a phone call assuring the family that he would take immediate action and move Ronnie to a safe location. Nothing was done, the family heard no updates from the University. The next call the family received was from Coach Brad Laird telling us that Ronnie had been murdered. Three days after his cry for help, Ronnie was shot and killed at his apartment. According to local reports, his roommate was arrested on gun and drug possession charges. There is much more to this story than what has been widely reported. There were warnings. This was a senseless tragedy that could have been prevented.

Northwestern State University failed one of its students and one of its star athletes. The coaches of ALL collegiate athletes have a huge responsibility to keep the athletes under their care safe and to make sure that they are thriving in their university environment. With families often being thousands of miles away, the coaches and the university staff are often the first line of defense to keep these children safe. We are speaking out now amid our extreme pain to ensure this doesn’t happen to another student-athlete, so Ronnie’s life can live on through a greater purpose.”

Caldwell Family Statement

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