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Best friend of Jor’Dell Richardson speaks for first time since fatal shooting by Aurora police

DENVER — Family and friends of Jor’Dell Richardson, who was shot and killed by Aurora police on June 1, say they believe the body-camera footage released by the police department only raises more questions about the 14-year-old’s death.

Lourease Wilson, 14, was best friends with Richardson. He spoke with Denver7 about the shooting, which changed his life.

“I feel like it shouldn’t have happened because at the end of the day, he did give up,” Wilson said.

Richardson was shot and killed by Aurora police on June 1 after allegedly robbing a convenience store earlier this month.

The bodycam footage was released on June 9 during a press conference with Aurora Chief of Police Art Acevedo. On Monday, the department released five additional videos.

Attorneys representing Richardson’s family said in a statement the additional footage does not justify the shooting.

“The surveillance videos released today continue to show that Jor’Dell never threatened an officer with a weapon,” said Siddhartha Rathod with Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC. “There is no evidence from any of the videos released to date that shows this shooting of a 14-year-old child was justified. What the videos do demonstrate is that the Aurora Chief of Police cannot be trusted to be objective.”

According to Acevedo, Richardson raised his sweatshirt in the store and displayed a weapon to the cashier. That weapon was later revealed to be a pellet gun. Acevedo said his officers were not aware the weapon was a replica.

“We know for a fact that he used it to commit an armed robbery – there’s no ambiguity there,” Acevedo said during the June 9 press conference.

Officers chased the teens and yelled at them to get on the ground. Seconds later, Acevedo said, Richardson’s hand was in his waistband. About five seconds after an officer said he would shoot Richardson, a gunshot is heard in the body cam footage.

The 14-year-old died after being transported to the hospital. Supporters marched alongside a procession on June 16.

Wilson said his friend’s death still feels surreal.

“I’m just still trying to figure out that he’s actually gone,” Wilson said. “I can’t go over to his house and spend the night with him, eat another meal with him, hoop one more time with him. I can’t go back to preschool with him where we played around as kids.”

“I’m here because of Jor’Dell right now,” he continued. “I’m here also because I know if I keep going down the wrong path, not a lot of good things are going to come out of it.”

Less than a month after the shooting, Wilson enrolled in a leadership camp with the Crowley Foundation. The camp is in Northeast Denver and targets young Black males, particularly those at risk and in underserved communities.

“I want Lourease to continue to be hungry and carry on the legacy of Jor’Dell,” said Kenneth Crowley II, program director for the Crowley Foundation. “I want him to use this as fuel and a reason to continue to succeed and be the leader of the family he wants to lead someday.”

Crowley and his colleagues lead summits in several cities across the country.

“The need for a Black man in the family, in the home is vital,” Crowley said. “We understand that the Black family was torn apart. We do our diligence to make sure we build up these young kings so that they can lead homes one day, so that they can lead families.”

It’s a message that Wilson hears loud and clear.

“That one mistake — trying to get some vapes, took his life from all of us,” Wilson said. “And it’s easy to get sucked into it. Like, easy, easy. And a lot of people think it’s fun and it’s not. This summit is going to get you into scholarships, high school, college, happy relationships, healthy mindset, growth mindset, stable body.”

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