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Family, friends remember youth football coach killed in alleged road rage shooting near I-65

Indiana State Police says say Hamilton was shot and killed Wednesday night while riding in the passenger seat of a white van in Greenwood.
Coach Hamilton.JPG
Posted at 6:36 PM, Jan 12, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s hard to put into words what a person means to their community.

Richard Donnell Hamilton was killed by an alleged road rage shooter Wednesday evening while exiting I-65 at County Line Road.

His cousin, Damon Lee, and their friend Darryl Smith Sr. say Hamilton's death is a major loss to the community he served.

Not only was Hamilton they've been standing by the 43-year-old for as long as they could remember.

“Year after year he coached intercity youth," Lee said about his cousin. "Everything he knew about football he taught."

“I am the man I am the coach I am today because of him,” Smith said.

Hamilton founded the Indy Youth Steelers, a youth football team. He also helped start the Tarkington Teen Work Crew, which is a program out of the MLK Center that empowers youth to become leaders.

“Nell’s legacy would be 'you can do it with nothing," Lee said. "He ran a football team without any grant money."

Now his football team, his coaches and his community are trying to move forward without the man they called their leader.

“This became kind of the home of the Indy Steelers – where their fiscal agent for grants they would get – we would help them get new uniforms – he and I are a lot like in the sense – if you wanted to play, we would figure out a way,” MLK Center Executive Director Allison Luthe told WRTV.

Indiana State Police say Hamilton was shot and killed Wednesday night while riding in the passenger seat of a white van in Greenwood.

State Police say the shooting happened near I-65 and County Line Road. Troopers believe their van was targeted by someone in another vehicle as they exited the interstate onto County Line Road.

Detectives believe the shooting was related to road rage. They're currently searching for a silver or gray sedan style car with dark tinted windows. No suspects have been identified.


“To be taken away from us by such a violent way – a senseless way – especially how hard we fought to keep the kids away from violence and off the streets,” Smith Sr.

Now the Butler-Tarkington community must put together the pieces of how lost a man they say mentored so many.

“Nell just gave back because he had a gift to give and he did it naturally and he didn’t expect nothing in return,” Family friend Anthoney Hampton said.

Hamilton and his youth football team got news this week that their field will undergo improvements through a Lilly Endowmentgrant.