Richard Nelson (photo/MSU Athletics)

The Missouri State University family is mourning the loss of freshman football player Richard Nelson today after the tailback was shot and killed in his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday evening.

Details on the incident are still under investigation by local authorities.

Nelson’s mother Roxanne Bruce told the, that Nelson was trying to defend his sister, who was involved in the fight outside their home. Nelson pulled one person off his sister, Bruce said, and that person shot Nelson multiple times.

“Our Missouri State football family is in shock and mourning at the loss of one of our family members,” said Bears’ head coach Dave Steckel. “Richard is like a son and a brother. It is a tragedy that he lost his life defending what is right. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in Las Vegas, and we know he is in a good place with God. We ask everyone to respect the privacy of our football family at this time as we begin the healing process.”

Nelson, 18, was a product of Chaparral High School in Las Vegas. He redshirted for the Bears during the 2016 season.

“On behalf of our administration, coaches and student-athletes, we want to express our condolences to Richard’s family and friends,” said Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. “He will be dearly missed by his Missouri State family and the coaches and teammates who knew him so well.”

According to Moats, grief counseling will be available for student-athletes upon their return to campus this week.

Portions of this story, courtesy of Missouri State Athletics.