A beloved college quarterback was killed last week after 50 shots were fired into his car while he was driving on a busy road in the Florida Panhandle.© Provided by People Kennesaw State University Ladarius Clardy
Ladarius Clardy, 18, a quarterback at Kennesaw State University, had just left a friend’s house and was driving on a main road in Pensacola when his car was hit with a spray of bullets, Sheriff Chip Simmons said at a press conference.© Kennesaw State University Ladarius Clardy
“Someone fired over 50 rounds into the car, most of them into the car door, the driver’s door,” Simmons said.
At about 1 a.m. on Thursday, deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist EMS at the intersection of West Fairfield Drive and Hollywood Avenue, the ECSO said in a press release.
Deputies found a black Honda Accord that had crashed in a ravine in a wooded area.
Inside, they found Clardy and an unidentified male passenger, 19, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
Clardy was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger was transported to a local hospital.
A son, a friend, a teammate
Clardy’s family is devastated.
“I never thought I’d be on this side,” Clardy’s father, Ladaron Clardy, told the Pensacola News Journal.
The Pensacola native made a name for himself as the quarterback at Pine Forest High School, where he holds the Pine Forest Eagles’ all-time passing record, Fox5 Atlanta reports. He also ran track and field at Pine Forest and was an honor student.
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After graduating from Pine Forest in 2020, Clardy played football as a quarterback at NCAA Division I FCS Kennesaw State University, the Pensacola News Journal reports.
“This is not someone who is a loose kid out there running the streets,” Pastor Joseph Marshall of St. John Divine Missionary Baptist Church said at the press conference, Fox5 Atlanta reports. “His family is very active. He attends our church, youth department, singing, participating in our entire youth department. I can’t express enough.”
Clardy’s death has rocked the community.
“This really broke the city,” family friend Jada Floyd told Fox5 Atlanta. “Everybody, a lot of people in the city loved LD. He was just. … He was a star.
“I don’t know why we have to use guns nowadays but it’s getting out of hand because they killed somebody so innocent,” she said.
Floyd added: “Prayer can get us through it.”
Simmons also decried the gun violence that stole Clardy’s life.
“This is not just a statistic,” he said at the press conference. “This is a son. This is a friend. This is a teammate, and enough is enough.”
As Floyd and other members of the community grapple with the death of the promising young man with a bright future ahead of him, police continue to search for his killer or killers.
Police have spoken to three men about the shooting, the ESCO said in a release.
A $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to arrests and indictments in the case, Sheriff Simmons said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 850-433-STOP or the ECSO at 850-436-9620.