KSU QB Ladarius Clardy laid to rest as Police recover car and offer $10K reward
The devastated Clardy family laid to rest 18-year-old Ladarius Clardy on Saturday after he was shot and killed days earlier in the Pensacola, Florida community where he was raised. The shock of Clardy’s violent death continued to resonate through two communities in two states. Beloved by his Florida and Kennesaw State University families, Ladarius was viewed as a promising young man with a bright future ahead of him.
Prior to attending KSU, Clardy was a graduate of Pensacola’s Pine Forest High School, where he accounted for 83 touchdowns and threw for nearly 6,000 yards in three seasons as their quarterback. That promising future came to a tragic end when the car he was driving was sprayed with gunfire, which killed him on the scene. A 19-year-old friend who was in the vehicle with Ladarius was also wounded
in the incident and suffered critical injuries. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office office said Tuesday it had recovered and seized a black 2014 Ford Fusion used in the killing of Clardy. The sheriff’s office is looking for information on who was inside the vehicle when Clardy was killed and are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the identification of the killer. “We are glad to announce the additional funds for anyone providing information as to who conducted this senseless act,” Sheriff Chip Simmons said Tuesday. If you have any information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects you could be eligible for a cash reward up to $10,000 by remaining anonymous and calling Crime Stoppers at (850) 433-STOP.
The ECSO was also seeking three people for questioning: 20-year-old Taziah Dekal McHenry, 18-year-old Melvin Douglas Hestle III, and 19-year-old Nicholas Joseph Wells. They have since questioned Wells and McHenry. Melvin Douglas Hester III is still wanted for questioning.
Ladarius’s father, Ladaron Clardy, made a grief-filled public appeal Thursday night for anyone with information on his son’s murder to come forward to investigators. His remarks came during the public forum at the Escambia County Commission meeting. “I never thought I’d be on this side,” he told the Pensacola News Journal, while confirming that Eric Young was the passenger in his son’s vehicle when the shooting took place. Young remained hospitalized but conscious Friday, according to Ladaron.
All are condemning the gun violence that stole Clardy’s life. Said Pastor Joseph Marshall of St. John Divine Missionary Baptist Church, “This is not someone who is a loose kid out there running the streets. His family is very active. He attends our church, youth department, singing, participating in our entire youth department. I can’t express enough.”
Clardy, a backup quarterback for the KSU Owls football team, was found dead in the early morning of July 1 in a car that had crashed into a large ditch in Pensacola. Clardy was killed just hours after arriving in town and picking up a friend. Police say Clardy died from several gunshot wounds. Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said t more than 50 shots were fired into Clardy’s vehicle, with most entering the driver’s door side of the car.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (850) 436-9620. Anonymous callers can contact Gulf Coast Crime (850) 433-STOP.