INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police said it was a road rage shooting that took the life of a beloved football coach Wednesday night in Johnson County.
Richard Donnell Hamilton, 43, was shot to death while riding in a van that was exiting on County Line Road from I-65 North.
ISP said the shooting happened shortly before 6:30 p.m. So far no suspects have been arrested but investigators are looking for a silver or gray sedan-style car with dark tinted windows.
Hamilton was a beloved member of the Butler-Tarkington community as the founder and coach of the Indy Steelers football program.
The goal of the program is to keep at-risk youth out of trouble.
“A lot of times they don’t have structure at home and we provide that structure,” Hamilton told FOX59 in 2015.
Hamilton was better known as “Coach Nell.” He founded the program with his fellow coach Darryl Smith who is grieving and wanting answers about why this happened.
“You took a brother from a lot of people,” Smith said. “A father, a husband and a soul of not only our organization but our community.”
Damon Lee was Coach Nell’s cousin but said the two of them were more like brothers. Lee said he always looked up to him while growing up.
“I think that person didn’t know the impact they were having when they made that decision,” Lee said. “They didn’t know that they was going to touch so many lives and hurt so many people. Especially the people in my family.”
Lee said it’s hard to comprehend how much of an impact Coach Nell had on the city’s youth. He said the Steelers were the coach’s true passion.
“To do it with no resources, no grant money, no funding, to do it out of his own pocket,” Lee said. “It’s just phenomenal.”
There were plenty of hugs and tears on Thursday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. During the summers, Coach Nell helped run a youth mentorship program at the center.
“He is the epitome of giving back,” said the coach’s friend Anthoney Hampton. “He made an entire community and an entire city of youth his children.”
Since the program’s inception, they have practiced at Tarkington Park in what is just an empty field. Coach Nell’s friends and family said funding recently just became available to turn that empty field into a proper practice field.
They said they hope it will eventually be named after the man who started it all, Coach Nell.
Anybody who has any information about this killing is asked to give CrimeStoppers a call at 317-262-TIPS.