College Baseball Administrator and Former Minor League Player Killed in Shooting

A college baseball administrator was shot and killed Thursday outside of a home he sold to a realty company, according to the New York Post. Ladell Thornton, 43, is suspected of killing Christopher Gradoville at the home in Omaha, Nebraska. Gradoville was 37 years old. It was reported that Thornton was renting the home at the time. 

Gradoville was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds outside the house Thursday morning after arriving there to complete a repair. It's not clear what caused the shooting, but Thornton has a long criminal history and was taken into custody after the scene and later arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony. 

Gradoville was baseball administrator for Creighton University. He also played baseball for the school from 2004 to 2007. "The Creighton community is absolutely devastated by the death of Chris Gradoville," Creighton University said in a statement. "Chris represented the very best of what it meant to be a Bluejay. He was an alumnus, former standout baseball player, and the volunteer director of baseball operations.

"But more importantly, Chris was an incredible human being, admired by everyone around him, including our coaches, staff, and players. We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to Chris' wife Nikki, and the entire Gradoville family during this extraordinarily difficult time."

Gradoville, who played catcher at Creighton, joined the staff in the fall last year. After playing for Creighton, Gradoville was selected in the 24th round of the MLB Draft in 2007 by the Texas Rangers. He spent four seasons in the Rangers organization, playing in two MLB exhibition games in Arlington Stadium. He then moved on to work in sports performance, specializing in treating sports injuries. Gradoville was the owner of Tactical Training Coution LLC, which is an initiative that trains first responders in fitness and health, according to Creighton baseball's official website. 

 "Having Chris as a member of our staff over the last 18 months was tremendous because he was a such a great man and a great teammate," Creighton baseball head coach Servais said. "Whether you were a player, teammate or fellow staff member that needed a hand, Chris was one of the first guys to step forward." Gradoville is survived by his wife, Nikki, who he met while playing for a Rangers affiliate in 2007.