Former NFL wide receiver Reche Caldwell was shot and killed on Saturday night in Tampa, Florida. His mother told TMZ that multiple individuals had attempted to rob him, but the police have provided another potential option. They said that it appears the 41-year-old "was targeted" before his death.
"Upon arrival, officers located an adult male victim of a gunshot wound in the front yard of a residence. Officers immediately began providing life-saving measures," authorities told TMZ. "Tampa Fire Rescue arrived and transported the victim to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. This does not appear to be a random act. However, it is very early in the investigation and detectives are working to develop leads in the case. Updates will be provided as they become available."
Caldwell's mother initially told TMZ he was preparing to take his girlfriend out on a date. He went back into the house to grab a jacket but was "ambushed" by a "couple of people" intent on robbing him. They shot Caldwell in the leg and the chest. Someone called 911, but Caldwell's mother said that he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital due to the severity of the injuries.
As of Sunday morning, the authorities had not made any arrests. They are continuing to gather information and have asked for the public's assistance. The police asked that anyone with info contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of former Patriot Reche Caldwell. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends," the New England Patriots said in a statement. Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also posted a photo showing him hugging Caldwell with "RIP" in the caption.
Caldwell's best season in the NFL took place in 2006 during his lone season with the New England Patriots. He posted a career-high 760 yards and four touchdowns en route to the AFC Championship Game. However, he dropped two crucial passes during the 38-34 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The team later replaced him with future Hall of Famer Randy Moss.
"Always kept us laughing and light-hearted. Always had the biggest smile. Always had the greatest stories. Sad to hear about the passing of my teammate Reche Caldwell. May the Lord comfort his family during this time," former Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson tweeted on Sunday morning. He joined multiple former teammates paying tribute to Caldwell.