Deborah Caldwell, Reche’s mother, told TMZ the incident happened while he was getting ready to go on a date with his girlfriend. He left his jacket in the house and went to retrieve it. During this process, he was ambushed. It’s believed they were just trying to rob him, but things went wrong, and he ended up being shot in the leg and chest.
Caldwell was alive when emergency services arrived, but he would succumb to his injuries in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
“He was a good person who smiled all of the time,” said Deborah Caldwell. “He tried to help everyone he could. He was the type of guy who would take his shirt off his back and give it to you.”
Reche was drafted in 2002 following three years at UF. He played in the NFL for six years, for four different teams. The Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams. He most notably left his mark on the Pats, when in 2006 he finished with a team-leading 61 catches, to go with 760 yards and four touchdowns. Upon his retirement, he opened an event planning business in his hometown of Tampa.
“I am saddened to hear the news about Reche. He is remembered for his solid contributions to our team.” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement through the team. “My thoughts and prayers are with Reche’s family.”
Some former teams, and teammates offered words of condolences on Twitter.
May Donald Reche Caldwell Jr. rest in peace.