20-year-old found dead in yard hit in head - WSMV Channel 4

20-year-old found dead in yard hit in head

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Richard "Boomer" Smith Richard "Boomer" Smith
COOKEVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A Middle Tennessee community is saying goodbye to a young football stand-out and is father is wondering why the young man died.

Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon for Richard "Boomer" Smith in Monterey.

Smith was found unresponsive Saturday outside a Putnam County Home. Police aren't calling his death a homicide, and say the full autopsy results are still pending.

Detectives told the Cookeville Herald-Citizen newspaper it appears Smith and another man were involved in a struggle the night Smith was hit in the head.

"This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. It's torn my daughter and son apart. Their hearts are broken," father Richard Smith said.

The Smith family is crushed. Tuesday, they buried a son, and a big brother.

"I am so sad that this has happened," Smith said.

Boomer Smith was more than a son. He was a big part in a single father's family.

"Boomer was a leader," Richard Smith said. "He would go in rooms and check on his sister and brother, make sure they're covered up. He kind of took over in a big role in helping me be responsible with my kids."

Boomer was also a leader in school and on the football field.

"Out of high school, Boomer had several really good offers to go play football," his father said. "He made really good grades. He was a top ten student. He was an all A student all through high school."

But after one semester away at college, Boomer came home. His father says he then started hanging with the wrong crowd.

"Boomer had some friends that I really didn't care a lot about," Richard Smith said.

Smith believes it may have been those friends who were involved in his son's death. Boomer was found unconscious in the front yard of a house where he hung out. He died on the way to the hospital.

"There are different stories. They said he was blindsidedly punched by somebody. And he went down and didn't get back up," his father said.

Now, after losing his son and looking for answers, Richard Smith has a warning to other parents.

"I would hope that any parents out there listen to this," he said. "You love your children, but the bottom line is, if you allow this to go on in your home, you're wrong."

The Monterey Wildcats will wear Boomer's number 10 on their helmets in Boomer's honor, and his brother Phillip Smith will wear a number 10 jersey.

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