Kwane Doster, a running back for the Vanderbilt University football team, was shot to death early yesterday when someone fired at the parked car he was in, police said. Doster, 21, of Tampa...

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TAMPA, Fla. — Kwane Doster, a running back for the Vanderbilt University football team, was shot to death early yesterday when someone fired at the parked car he was in, police said.

Doster, 21, of Tampa, died at Tampa General Hospital after being shot near the Ybor City nightlife district, police spokesman Joe Durkin said. Detectives were trying to find the killer and determine a motive.

Doster and two friends had stopped their car while “cruising around” when another car pulled up beside them, Durkin said. Several shots were fired at Doster’s car, and one hit him in the chest while he was sitting behind the driver, police said. No one else was hurt.

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“I don’t believe any words were exchanged,” Durkin said, adding that investigators didn’t know if Doster was the intended target. Police believe three people were in the other car.

“Kwane’s death is a terrible and tragic loss to our Vanderbilt family,” Commodores coach Bobby Johnson said. “Everyone who knew Kwane, from his fellow players and students, his coaches and their families, and even fans, have suffered a personal loss today.”

The junior rushed for 437 yards and one touchdown this season for the Commodores (2-9). He became the first Vanderbilt player to be voted the Southeastern Conference’s freshman of the year by SEC coaches after rushing for 798 yards — a school record for a freshman — in 2002.

For his career, Doster had 1,621 yards rushing.

Teammate Clark Lea, a fullback, shed tears as he remembered Doster.

“He had an infectious smile,” Lea said.

Former Vanderbilt receiver Dan Stricker said Doster was impressive from the beginning of his college career.

“Kwane knew, not in a cocky way, that he was going to do great things. He had that aura,” Stricker said.

“As a freshman he was never intimidated, never shy. In that sense, he was a leader even then.”