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Sun, 09.30.2007

Black College Football Player Murdered

Empathy for Taylor Bradford

On this date in 2007, a Black University of Memphis football player was fatally shot on campus in what police believe was a targeted attack.

Taylor Bradford, 21 years old, was shot while driving a car near a university housing complex and crashed into a tree on campus, officials said. Reports of gunfire had been heard in a parking lot of the housing complex about 200 yards from where Bradford was found.

University President Shirley Raines said that witnesses told police they saw more than one person leaving the scene who could have been involved. She also said, "This was an act directed specifically toward the victim and it was not a random act of violence." Bradford, a 5-foot-11, 300-pound defensive lineman, was a junior who transferred to Memphis after two seasons at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, a private Christian school.

Classes were called off the next day.  The Memphis Tigers hosted Marshall University the following night. A moment of silence was held before the game. Head coach Tommy West said in a statement, "Our entire football team is deeply saddened by the loss of Taylor. He was well respected and a popular member of our team. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Bradford, a resident of Nashville, had transferred to Memphis in 2006 and was on the roster but had not played in a game that season. Bradford lettered in three sports at Antioch High School in Nashville, and held school records in shot-put and discus.   On November 10, 2007, DaeShawn Tate, Courtney Washington, Victor Trezevant, and Devon Jefferson were charged with the killing University of Memphis junior Taylor Bradford; this was not a racial hate crime.

The Associated Press
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