Lydell Hartford, Jr. (Photo: UAPB)
WAGGAMAN, LA (UAPB) - Lydell Hartford, Jr., freshman linebacker for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football team died yesterday in a fatal accident in Waggaman, Louisiana. Coaches and administrators at UAPB are saddened by the details of the accident released by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (JPSO).
According to authorities, a 16-year-old boy identified as Hartford's friend was playing with a gun and accidentally shot and killed him early Tuesday morning. Hartford, 20, was pronounced dead after suffering a gunshot wound to the neck, according to Glen T. Boyd, spokesman for the JPSO.
Hartford and the teen were inside of a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro belonging to Hartford's mother. The car was parked in the driveway of Hartford's home, Boyd said. The teen discovered a .38-caiber pistol that also belonged to Hartford's mother inside the car and began to remove the bullets. Hartford warned him to stop, but the teen ignored Hartford and kept unloading bullets until he thought the gun was empty. The boy squeezed the trigger three or four times until the pistol fired a bullet that hit Hartford in the neck. The teen pulled him out of the vehicle and laid him on the driveway. Hartford died about an hour later, Boyd said.
The 16-year-old boy was arrested and booked with negligent homicide. The Sheriff's Office is not identifying the teen because he is a juvenile.
"It is a shock to us all," said UAPB Chancellor Dr. Laurence Alexander. "We are saddened by the news of his death and offer our condolences, thoughts, and prayers to his family and friends during this difficult time."
"Our hearts and prayers really go out to Hartford and his family," said Head Football Coach Monte Coleman.
"He was proud to be a part of the team-I am sad to see another young person leave this earth too soon. He will be missed."
UAPB Offensive Coordinator Eric Dooley, also a New Orleans native, knew the school Hartford came from and is well acquainted with his family. He didn't work directly with him at practices and games, but noticed he did everything you asked of him.
UAPB Defensive Coordinator Earl Buckingham worked directly with Hartford and will remember him for his dedication to the team.
"He was a good kid and loved being on the team," said Buckingham. "Our team is hurting and offers our condolences to his family and all those that knew him."