World Jnr champ shot dead

OXFORD, Miss. – Mississippi sprinter Rodney Lydale Lockhart died from one gun shot to the front of his head, Lafayette County Coroner Lonnie Weaver said Sunday.

Lockhart, a junior psychology major and member of the gold medal-winning U.S. 1,600-meter relay team in the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, was found shot to death Saturday at his apartment near the Ole Miss campus.

Weaver told The Associated Press that an autopsy was performed Sunday.

“He died of a gunshot wound to the head,” Weaver said, adding that there were no other visible injuries on Lockart’s body.

A man who answered the telephone Sunday at the Oxford Police Department, declined to give his name, but said there was no new information available on the shooting.

An athletic department spokesman referred all questions to a university spokeswoman, who did not immediately return calls or an e-mail seeking more information.

Funeral arrangements for the Vaiden native have not been completed, an employee at Sanders & Sanders Funeral Home in Winona said.

Police were called to Lockhart’s apartment about 10 a.m. Saturday after a 911 call from a man who said he found the runner lying on the floor. The 20-year-old Lockhart was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a news release by Oxford Police Chief Mike Martin.

Lockhart’s death is being investigated as a homicide by the Oxford Police Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations, Martin said.

At the 2006 SEC Outdoor Championships, Lockhart finished ninth in the 400 meters and was a member of the 1,600-meter relay team that finished eighth. At the 2006 SEC Indoor Championships, he finished eighth in the 400 meters and was part of a 1,600-meter relay team that finished fifth.