Lydell Hartford, Jr. (Photo: UAPB)
PINE BLUFF, Ark. (KTHV) -- The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football team is mourning the loss of a teammate.
UABP head football coach Monte Coleman said 20-year-old Lydell Hartford Jr. was a freshman walk-on from Louisiana. Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department said Lydell Hartford was accidentally shot just after midnight Tuesday.
Coleman said Wednesday that Hartford was sitting in his mother's car outside his home when the shooting occurred.
"It's just a tragedy that we're talking about him being shot accidentally by his cousin today," said Coleman. "It's just a tragedy and a loss for the family of UAPB and the football team."
The 16-year-old who shot Hartford thought the gun was unloaded when he squeezed the trigger several times, causing a bullet to strike Hartford in the neck.
"He was very intelligent. Did a great job in the classroom," Coleman recalled, remembering the walk-on football player as a hard worker and dedicated team player.
"(He) hustled, did everything we asked him to do because he was a walk-on. He was on the scout team and he helped prepare the offense for our opponents each week and did a tremendous job with that."
In addition to being a good student and player, Coleman remembers him as being a likeable person.
"He was always upbeat. The players enjoyed being around him and for my time around him, I never had any problems with him."
The UAPB football team returns for practice on August 2nd. Coach Coleman said Hartford decided last spring to not return to the football program this the fall due to personal reasons.
The juvenile accused of shooting Hartford is being charged with negligent homicide.