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High school football coach shot to death in front of crowd at Texas sports complex

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/12/2020 Nelson Oliveira

A community in southeast Texas is mourning the tragic death of a high school football coach who was gunned down in front of a crowd of children and adults at a sports complex over the weekend.

Derwyn Lauderdale, 29, died Saturday afternoon after being shot in the abdomen during a family dispute in the Houston suburb of Rosenberg, authorities said. The suspect, 28-year-old James Hamilton, was taken into custody moments after the shooting and has been charged with murder.

The broad-daylight killing happened in the parking lot of the Seabourne Creek Sports Complex, where multiple people were gathered for an ongoing series of youth football games. Witnesses said Lauderdale and a child were walking toward the gunman’s black Mercedes when Hamilton opened fire, turning an afternoon sports event into a horrific nightmare for numerous kids and parents.

“What a sad set of circumstances that took place during this event," Rosenberg Police Chief Jonathan White said in a news release. “Children came to play a game they love, only to have it ruined by a career criminal committing an act of family violence.”

Leroy Lita posing for the camera: Derwyn Lauderdale © Provided by New York Daily News Derwyn Lauderdale

Derwyn Lauderdale

The motive and exact relationship between Lauderdale and Hamilton were not immediately known.

The victim was a coach and teacher at Travis High School in nearby Richmond and a former college football player for Southwest Baptist University in Missouri, where he played from 2010 to 2014.

SBU officials described him as “one of the best wide receivers ever to play” for the school.

“Words can’t express the loss we’re feeling right now as a Bearcat Family,” Head Football Coach Robert Clardy said in a statement. “Derwyn leaves a legacy here that will never be forgotten by his former teammates and coaches. He was a great friend and mentor to all.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, was described as a career criminal with numerous arrests in at least three Texas counties over the years. He was previously charged with violating a protective order, unlawfully carrying of a weapon and making a terroristic threat, according to police.

The handgun he allegedly used had been reported stolen to the Houston Police Department, authorities said.

The investigation is ongoing.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy and we will pursue appropriate charges so justice may be served,” White said.

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