CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — Students and staff members alike are remembering a middle school coach shot and killed in Cedar Park on Saturday.
An eighth grade student at Running Brushy Middle School passed out silver ribbons Monday morning for everyone to wear in honor of Adam Shane Ladner. The school’s principal, Jim Rose, said other memorials are also in the works.
“One of our male athletes said that he’d already talked to our boys coordinator, got a basketball and said, ‘Hey, can I have some Sharpies? I want all the girls to sign a basketball for Coach Ladner’s daughter,'” Rose said.
“Our kids love Coach Ladner,” he added, “and it shows the impact he’s had on them.”
Cedar Park police said Ladner, 41, died late Saturday night after a shooting at his neighbor’s house in the 1000 block of Savanna Lane.
Ladner coached multiple middle school girls’ athletics teams and taught science and PE at Running Brushy Middle School.
In a news conference Monday afternoon, police said they first went to Ladner’s house after a report of a noise complaint for loud talking. Eight minutes later, police responded again to a shots fired call and found Ladner lying in his neighbor’s front yard with multiple gunshot wounds. Officers tried to revive him there, but could not.
Police took Ladner’s neighbor, 64-year-old Larry Wayne Smith, into custody for a murder charge. His bond was set Monday at $300,000.
Police said Smith had gone to Ladner’s home before they responded to the initial noise complaint Saturday evening. Police said a “physical altercation” may have happened before the fatal shooting.
“Mr. Smith has declined to make any statement to this point,” Police Chief Sean Mannix said Monday, “and we look forward to his version of events after consultation with his attorney.”
The medical examiner has not determined the cause and manner of death yet, but police said Ladner was shot multiple times.
Ladner’s family released a statement Monday:
“With a shocked and heavy heart, we are all in disbelief of what happened to Adam. He was a devoted dad, son, uncle, nephew, fiancé and friend to everyone that knew him. He was a very well respected gentleman and loved everyone in his life including his family and kids with all his heart. Upon graduating at the University of Texas, Adam was a teacher across the World, and was currently teaching and coaching at Running Brushy Creek Middle School for the past 10 years. He taught and mentored many students and faculty. Anyone who knew Adam, knows that he had a huge heart and would help anyone who needed it. We greatly appreciate the outpouring from the community for their support during this difficult time.”
Ladner’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.
Leander ISD also issued a statement, saying in part:
“The Running Brushy Middle School and Leander ISD family is saddened to learn of the unexpected death of a faculty member, Adam Ladner. His passing has affected students and staff members deeply. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
The district’s Crisis Team, which is trained to deal with grief counseling, is being made available to students. If people have any concerns, they are encouraged to call the school.
Read the full statement from the school district:
The Running Brushy Middle School and Leander ISD family is saddened to learn of the unexpected death of a faculty member, Adam Ladner. His passing has affected students and staff members deeply. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Within Running Brushy and Leander ISD, we have the district Crisis Team, who are trained to deal with grief counseling, available to students and staff members. This intervention has been implemented to respond to this tragic event and to help our students and their families get back to regular learning and everyday activities as soon as possible. This plan has evolved from the district’s experience with death in the past and the advice of mental health professionals from the community.
We expect everyone will react in different ways to the death of one of our school community members. We understand there will be a variety of emotions and responses to Coach Ladner’s passing. The most important things we can do are offer support and encourage an open expression of feelings.
If your child has questions or needs help, please have them see a Crisis Team member at RBMS this week. We will try to maintain as normal a routine and structure as the situation allows, and we encourage you to do the same.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact the school at 512-570-3300. We know you join us in our concern and sympathy for the Running Brushy family.
The district told KXAN that Ladner started with Leander ISD in the 2007-2008 school year as a a fourth grade teacher at Plain Elementary School. After a year teaching in the Plano Independent School District, Ladner returned to Leander ISD in the 2009-2010 school year as a fifth grade teacher at River Ridge Elementary School. He taught there through the 2014-2015 school year before becoming a teacher at Cox Elementary School for the 2015-2016 school year.
Since the 2016-2017 school year, Ladner taught science and PE at Running Brushy Middle School. He also coached cross country, girls’ basketball and most recently volleyball and soccer.
According to Cedar Park police, the fatal shooting that involved Ladner is not tied to another homicide investigation that happened last weekend at the Lakeline Villas apartments.