Aurora, CO – Bodycam footage captured the moment when a 14-year-old male involved in the armed robbery of a convenience store was fatally shot by Aurora police after a foot chase earlier this month (video below).
The Aurora Police Department (APD) released bodycam footage of the incident on June 9, CBS News reported.
The series of events leading up to the fatal officer-involved shooting began at approximately 4:17 p.m. on June 1, when an APD sergeant spotted a group of teens wearing hoodies and masks entering a convenience store near North Dayton Street and East Eighth Avenue, KMGH reported.
The sergeant called for backup and headed to the alley behind the store, where he located a Kia the group had gotten out of.
When he ran the license plates, the vehicle came back as stolen, KMGH reported.
APD Chief Art Acevedo said one member of the group who entered the store was later identified as 14-year-old Jor’Dell Richardson.
While he was inside the business, Richardson lifted his sweatshirt and flashed a gun that was tucked inside his waistband so the clerk could see he was armed, Chief Acevedo said.
The clerk allegedly told investigators the suspect also told her he had a gun, Colorado Public Radio reported.
Police said two other 14-year-old suspects ordered a woman who walked into the store during the holdup to say inside the building, KMGH reported.
Bodycam footage showed officers chasing Richardson as he fled the store and ran down an alley.
Chief Acevedo noted that one officer warned the teen that he was going to Tase him if he didn’t stop, but said the officer was not close enough to the suspect for the Taser to have worked, KMGH reported.
Another officer ordered Richardson to get onto the ground just before the teen began reaching into his waistband.
“Gun! Gun!” an officer yelled as they took the suspect to the ground. “Let go of the f—king gun!”
One of the officers warned the teen he was going to shoot him just before a gunshot rang out.
Bodycam footage then showed the officer tossing a gun away from them into the alley.
Richardson immediately yelled out after he was shot and began apologizing to the officers.
“They made me do it,” he said. “I don’t know who they are but they made me do it.”
Chief Acevedo said the suspect had been shot in the middle area of his abdomen.
Bodycam footage showed the officers calling for medical assistance while trying to keep the suspect alert.
Richardson “lost consciousness quickly,” Chief Acevedo said, according to KMGH.
The teen was rushed to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.
Chief Acevedo said during a press conference after the shooting that the weapon Richardson was carrying was found to be a replica pellet gun, KMGH reported.
It is unclear whether the suspect pointed the gun at the officers at any time during the chase or after he was taken to the ground.
“That’s part of the investigation. That’s a little bit of the ambiguity – that’s going to be the question that the investigation will continue [to look into],” Chief Acevedo said, according to KMGH. “We know for a fact that he used it to commit an armed robbery – there’s no ambiguity there.”
The police chief said he was not aware of any surveillance footage that might have captured a better view of the incident, but Richardson’s family has claimed otherwise, KMGH reported.
They said a local business owner had security footage and that it had been given to police.
“Every officer-involved shooting is a tragedy,” Chief Acevedo said. “No matter where this investigation takes us… it is a tragedy.”
Two 14-year-old suspects have been charged with aggravated robbery and false imprisonment in connection with the incident, NBC News reported.
Investigators said they believe five teens entered the store and that another two or three remained in the stolen vehicle outside.
The teens allegedly made off with boxes of vape canisters, NBC News reported.
Richardson’s family has accused the APD of withholding additional video footage of the officer-involved shooting.
They further alleged police have released misleading information about Richardson in order to protect the officers involved, NBC News reported.
APD Officer Roch Gruszeczka and Officer James Snapp have both been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as per protocol.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language:
BWC of fatal OIS involving armed 14 year old:
“Body-worn camera footage released by the [Aurora Police] department on Friday shows police chasing Jor'Dell Richardson after his suspected involvement in an armed robbery.”
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) June 10, 2023