University of Memphis football player killed in on-campus shooting

Courtesy WMCTV-Memphis
A University of Memphis football player was fatally shot on campus in what police believe was a targeted attack, and classes were canceled Monday as a precaution.
Taylor Bradford, 21, apparently was shot near a university housing complex about 9:45 p.m. Sunday and then crashed a car he was driving into a tree a short distance away on campus, officials said.
"We found him with a bullet wound to the body and the ambulance took him to the hospital where he was pronounced," said Roger Prewitt, a Memphis Police inspector.
Detectives investigating the shooting received reports of gunfire being heard in a parking lot of the housing complex about 200 yards from where Bradford was found, police spokeswoman Monique Martin said.
Homicide detectives were unsure of a motive for the shooting and had no suspects, she said. "That's all still under investigation," she said.
University president Shirley Raines said that witnesses told police they saw more than one person leaving the scene who could have been involved.
"This was an act directed specifically toward the victim and it was not a random act of violence," she said.
Residence halls in the surrounding area were closed to outsiders immediately, and residents were advised not to go outside. Students, faculty and staff were told by e-mail early Monday morning that classes were canceled.
In an e-mail alert to faculty, staff and students at 3:40 a.m. Monday, officials wrote that "the initial investigation indicates this was an act directed specifically toward the victim and was not a random act of violence."
Officials said classes were canceled to allow a Memphis Police investigation into the incident to continue.
The Memphis Tigers football team is scheduled to host Marshall University's Thundering Herd Tuesday night. A moment of silence is planned before the game, and school officials were encouraging all students to attend.
"Our entire football team is deeply saddened by the loss of Taylor," head coach Tommy West said in a statement. "He was well respected and a popular member of our team. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
The University planned a vigil for 7:00 p.m. Monday on the campus' Student Plaza.  An information session about the incident was planned for 1:00 p.m. Tuesday in the Rose Theater.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  Stay with for updates on this story.  A full press release from the University of Memphis is reprinted below.


Classes Canceled for Monday, October 1, 2007

Main Campus Only

Police Services is issuing this message in an effort to continue to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors. 
On Sunday, September 30, 2007, around 9:45 PM, a student was shot in the vicinity of the Carpenter Complex.  He then drove to Zach Curlin and Central and was involved in a single car automobile accident.  He was transported to the MED where he was pronounced dead. 
While suspect information cannot be released at this time, the initial investigation indicates this was an act directed specifically toward the victim and was not a random act of violence.  During the preliminary investigation all residence halls were closed shortly after the incident.  However, subsequent information revealed that the persons responsible left the University area immediately. Residence halls will reopen at 7:00 AM on October 1, 2007.
The Memphis Police Department’s Homicide Bureau is leading the investigation with the assistance of the University Police.  The investigation is continuing and further information will be made available as it develops.

If you have any information related to this incident, please call the University Police at 678-4357 (HELP), e-mail, or submit a tip anonymously at

Classes at the main campus only are canceled on Monday, October 1, 2007, to allow time for further police investigation, and to ensure the well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.
President Raines has announced that all University offices will be open to allow students to have access to counselors and advisors.  While classes are canceled on Monday, October 1, 2007, when they resume on October 2 professors should take into account the effect this event may have had on students.  Students are encouraged to speak with their professors if they feel the need.
Plans for memorial services and other responses to this tragedy will be announced by the Student Government Association and the Office of Student Affairs.

Bruce Harber

Director of Police Services

The University of Memphis