The family of 14-year-old Jor’Dell Richardson will hold a public memorial and march through Aurora with his casket on Friday, two weeks after an Aurora police officer shot and killed the teen.
Richardson’s family, faith leaders and community members will gather at 5 p.m. Friday at the Aurora Municipal Center and give eulogies for the teen. The group will then lead a processional march around the city with Jor’Dell’s casket.
“Our family is in mourning, we are in pain, but our entire community is also in pain,” Jameco Richardson, Jor’Dell’s father, said in a news release. “We are gathering together to honor and celebrate his life, and grieve a death that came far too early.”
Aurora police Officer Roch Gruszeczka shot and killed Jor’Dell on June 1 after the teen fled from police who were investigating suspicious activity.
Gruszeczka and Officer James Snapp arrived on scene after a sergeant radioed for backup and said: “Five dudes, black juveniles, all masked up came from the alley and started running toward the strip mall.” The sergeant later added that it looked like the group was scoping out businesses in the strip mall.
As Gruszeczka arrived at the shopping area, he said: “They just shoplifted out of there. I’m going to light them up.” He and Snapp then chased Jor’Dell into an alley and tackled him to the ground, where Richardson said: “Stop, please, you got me.”
During a struggle on the ground, Gruszeczka saw what he thought was a gun on Jor’Dell and shot him once in the stomach.
Interim Aurora police Chief Art Acevedo on Friday revealed that the gun was a pellet gun made to look like a firearm.
After the shooting, investigators determined that at least one of the teenagers threatened a convenience store clerk with a gun and they took several vape canisters, according to police. Acevedo said Jor’Dell was the teenager who threatened the clerk.
Jor’Dell had just graduated eighth grade before he was killed.
“He was loved and adored by his educators at Kenton Elementary School and deserves to be characterized in his true light,” said former Aurora Public Schools Dean Alicia Garcia. “His smile and ability to spark much-needed laughter among both peers and teachers alike was truly unmatched. A brilliant life was taken too soon and the community of Aurora will be forever dimmed with the loss of Jor’Dell Richardson.”
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