Authorities in Escambia County, Florida, confirmed to the Pensacola News-Journal that Kennesaw State quarterback Ladarius Clardy was found dead of apparent gunshot wounds after the car he was driving was found crashed in a ditch.
“We are devastated and heartbroken over the death of Ladarius Clardy,” KSU head coach Brian Bohannon said in a KSU press release. “Ladarius was an excellent teammate and left a mark on this program with his positive attitude. He will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ladarius’ family at this difficult time.”
Clardy, an alumnus of Pine Forest High School in Pensacola and the all-time leading passer of its football team, had just arrived back to his hometown prior to the shooting, according to Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons.
In a press conference held by ECSO Thursday afternoon, Simmons reported that the sheriff’s office had been notified by the local EMS that a good samaritan witnessed and reported Clardy’s vehicle drive off an embankment.
Upon reaching the scene, authorities confirmed that Clardy was deceased at the scene and that there was a passenger in the vehicle who sustained injuries and was hospitalized. Simmons reported that over 50 rounds of gunfire had been fired at Clardy’s car.
“This is not just a statistic,” Simmons said. “This is a son. This is a friend. This is a teammate, and enough is enough.”
While at KSU, Clardy was part of a talented quarterback depth chart that was being coached by former Owls star Chandler Burks. While Clardy had been recruited by KSU for his dual-threat capabilities and storied career at Pine Forest, he was also known as a strong leader with a family well-respected by the local community.
“He had it all,” former Pine Forest head coach Jason McDonald said. “He was going to work and push other kids to work harder. A great kid in the classroom, hard worker.”
At this time, no arrests have been made in connection with Clardy’s death. KSU Counseling and Psychological Services will be offering grief counseling services to student athletes affected by the tragedy.