Arkansas-Pine Bluff linebacker Lydell Hartford Jr. died of a gunshot wound outside his home in Waggaman, La., on Tuesday.
Authorities indicated that the 20-year-old Hartford, a freshman walk-on, was shot in the neck by a 16-year-old friend who was playing with a gun that, according to the university. belonged to Hartford's mother.
The 16-year-old, whose identity was not released by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office because he is a juvenile, apparently fired a .38-caliber weapon that he thought was unloaded at the time while the two were sitting in a car in Hartford's driveway.
"Our hearts and prayers really go out to Hartford and his family," Arkansas-Little Rock coach Monte Coleman said. "He was proud to be a part of the team. I am sad to see another young person leave this earth too soon. He will be missed."