In a disconcerting series of events, a 14-year-old boy, Jor’Dell Richardson, lost his life on June 1 after being shot by an Aurora police officer. The incident followed an alleged robbery by Richardson and a group of teenagers, who were reported to have stolen vape canisters from a store.
The Aurora Police Department recently unveiled the body camera footage that was captured by two of the officers involved in the pursuit. The video provides a grim depiction of the ensuing foot chase and violent encounter, amplifying the distress surrounding the teen’s death.
In the disclosed video, Richardson is seen sprinting away from the officers. The officers can be heard instructing the teen to halt and surrender. The situation escalates rapidly when one officer, identified as Roch Gruszeczka, warns of using a taser.
However, Richardson remained out of the stun gun’s range. When another officer, James Snapp, engaged Richardson physically, the teen’s hand was noticed near his waistband. Amidst the altercation, the teen pleaded for the officers to stop, whilst Gruszeczka was heard cautioning about a firearm and threatening to shoot. Shortly after, the sound of a single gunshot echoes, and Gruszeczka was identified as the officer who fired the fatal shot.
After being wounded, Richardson reportedly apologized, pleaded for medical help, and indicated he was coerced into committing the act. He lost consciousness shortly thereafter. He sustained a gunshot wound to his midsection, which resulted in his death at the hospital despite immediate medical efforts.
The Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) of the 18th Judicial District is investigating the use of deadly force. Moreover, the footage reveals Gruszeczka discarding a firearm allegedly carried by Richardson after the gunshot. Initially, it was reported that Richardson threatened the store clerk with a semiautomatic handgun, but this was later revised to a pellet gun.
The video footage does not establish whether Richardson ever directed the pellet gun at the officers. This ambiguity forms part of the ongoing investigation, as does the supposed armed robbery that Richardson used the pellet gun for.
In the wake of the incident, Gruszeczka has been placed on paid administrative leave. The Richardson family, represented by the firm Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, expressed their trauma and confusion following their viewing of the footage.