A Texas high school football coach was fatally shot in front of children outside a sports complex during a family-related dispute, police and witnesses said.
Derwyn Lauderdale, a 29-year-old wide receivers coach and physical education teacher at Travis High School in Richmond, was shot in the abdomen Saturday in the parking lot at the Seabourne Creek Sports Complex in Rosenberg, police said.
A series of youth football games were being held at the time.
“What a sad set of circumstances that took place during this event,” Police Chief Jonathan White said in a statement. “Children came to play a game they love, only to have it ruined by a career criminal committing an act of family violence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy and we will pursue appropriate charges so justice may be served.”
Witnesses gave cops a detailed description of the suspected gunman, identified by authorities as James Hamilton, of Houston, who was in possession of a handgun reported stolen to Houston police when he was taken into custody, police said.
Lauderdale, also of Houston, was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Investigators believe the fatal shooting stemmed from an ongoing family-related dispute, police said.
Exactly how Hamilton and Lauderdale were related or the nature of the domestic dispute was not immediately clear, ABC News reported.
Police said Hamilton has an extensive criminal history in Harris, Brazoria and Galveston counties, where he’s been arrested for violating a protective order, unlawful carrying of a weapon and making terroristic threats.
A woman who said she witnessed the shooting told KTRK she was sitting in a car with her grandson before the boy’s game when a driver in a black Mercedes pulled into a parking lot.
The witness said Lauderdale then got out of a gray Hyundai Elantra with a child and began walking toward the Mercedes. That’s when the driver of the car, whom police identified as Hamilton, shot Lauderdale in the stomach in front of a crowd of people, including the child he was with who started crying hysterically, KTRK reported.
Hamilton has been charged with murder, the station reported.
Lauderdale was a standout wide receiver at Southwest Baptist University, where he played from 2010 through 2014 and later joined the coaching staff, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
“We are stunned by this news,” SBU’s athletic director, Mike Pitts, said in a statement. “Derwyn had been a member of the Bearcat family for nearly a decade and we will miss him. Our hearts, thoughts and (especially) prayers go out to Derwyn’s family and to the coaches and players of SBU football.”