College football player Ronnie Caldwell -- a junior safety at Northwestern State University -- was shot and killed on Thursday morning in Louisiana, police said.
He was just 21 years old.
According to the Natchitoches Police Department, the tragic incident happened near NSU's campus -- which is about three hours away from New Orleans -- at around 1:08 a.m.
Police say they were dispatched to a street near the university after 911 callers reported gunshots in the area. When officers arrived, they say they found Caldwell suffering from gunshot wounds ... and he was later pronounced deceased.
Cops say an investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.
The Northwestern State football team, meanwhile, canceled its Saturday game against Nicholls State after learning of the heartbreaking news.
"Ronnie Caldwell was a young man who had a bright future ahead of him on or off the football field," Demons head coach Brad Laird said on Thursday. "He was our voice in the locker room."
"Our hearts are broken and ache for Ronnie's family and friends. His loss will be felt here at Northwestern State, in Natchitoches and in his home."
NSU's Ronnie Caldwell was described as the "Voice of the locker room". Despite being injured, he helped coach the defense during the 2023 season🙏@NSUDemonsFB canceled their game against Nicholls Saturday. Decisions on the remaining games will be made as the season progresses pic.twitter.com/jMrkeDL1DI
Caldwell -- who transferred from Tyler Junior College after the 2021 season -- appeared in 11 games last season and finished seventh on the team in tackles. He did not play yet this season due to an injury he suffered in the preseason.
The Texas native was also a business administration major who helped coach a local youth baseball team over the summer.
Police are asking anyone with information on Caldwell's death to call cops at 318-357-3914.