Police in Colorado have released graphic body camera footage after an officer fatally shot a teenager following an alleged convenience store robbery.
Jor’Dell Richardson, 14, was shot and killed by an Aurora police officer on June 1, authorities said. He later died of his injuries at the hospital.
Jor’dell was with a group of teenagers who had allegedly stolen vape canisters from a store and was shot after fleeing the scene, police said.
The Aurora Police Department on Friday released body camera footage from two officers on its gang intervention team involved in the ensuing foot pursuit amid an investigation into the deadly use of force.
“No matter where this investigation takes us, no matter where we end, it is a tragedy because a young man has lost his life,” Interim Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo said during a press briefing on the footage.
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Representatives of Jor’dell’s family and their attorneys were able to view the footage ahead of its public release.
In the footage, Jor’dell can be seen running from officers as they yell for him to stop and get on the ground. One officer, identified as Roch Gruszeczka, can be heard yelling, “Get on the ground or I’m going to tase you,” the footage shows.
Acevedo said Jor’Dell was not close enough to the stun gun for it to reach him.
As another officer, identified as James Snapp, catches up and has a physical altercation with Jor’dell, the teen’s hand “is in the vicinity of his waistband,” Acevedo said.
As he’s on the ground, Jor’dell can be heard saying, “Stop, please, you got me,” as Gruszeczka can be heard yelling, “Gun! Gun! Let go of the ——- gun! I’m going to shoot your a–! Dude, I’m going to shoot you!” Seconds later, a single gunshot can be heard.
The police chief identified the shooting officer as Gruszeczka.
After he was shot, Jor’dell could be heard apologizing, asking to be taken to the hospital, and saying, “They made me do it. I don’t know who they were but they made me do it.”
Acevedo said Jor’dell lost consciousness shortly after.
Jor’dell sustained a single gunshot wound to his midsection, which was blurred in the body camera footage at the request of his family, Acevedo said. The officers were captured calling for medical and attempting life-saving measures before the teen was transported to a local hospital where he died.
The use of force is being investigated by the 18th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT).
During the altercation with officers, the footage shows that following the sound of the gunshot, Gruszeczka can be seen throwing a firearm that Jor’dell was allegedly carrying. Acevedo said Jor’dell allegedly threatened the store clerk with the firearm, which police originally said was a semiautomatic handgun. The chief at his press briefing later amended that statement to say it was determined to be a pellet gun.
The body camera footage released by the Aurora police department does not show whether Jor’dell ever pointed the pellet gun at the officers.
“That’s part of the investigation. That’s a little bit of the ambiguity — that’s going to be the question that the [CIRT] investigation will continue [to look into],” Acevedo said at the briefing. “We know for a fact that he used it to commit an armed robbery — there’s no ambiguity there.”
Gruszeczka has been placed on paid administrative leave, the police department said.
Attorneys for Jor’Dell’s family said his family is “traumatized by the shooting death of a boy they loved.”
“Viewing the videos left them with more questions than answers,” Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, the firm representing the family, said in a statement.
One of the family’s attorneys, Siddhartha Rathod, told ABC News he feels Jor’dell’s death is similar to that of Elijah McClain, 23, who died in 2019 after being stopped by Aurora police, placed in a chokehold and injected with ketamine as a sedative.
Five Aurora first responders, including three officers who were at the scene, pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, among other counts, in McClain’s death.
Former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson was fired by city officials in the aftermath of the McClain case.
MORE: Officers, paramedics plead not guilty in connection with death of Elijah McClain
Acevedo, who came on as chief after Wilson’s dismissal, said Friday’s press briefing was an attempt to be “transparent and to fully discuss to the best of my ability what led to the death of a 14-year-old kid in this community.”
“The incident happened real-time, it happened quickly,” he said. “We’re talking about thousandths of seconds, and just very quick timeframes.”
The alleged robbery incident also remains under investigation, police said. Two 14-year-olds who were taken into custody at the scene face charges of false imprisonment and aggravated robbery, Acevedo said. Other suspects who allegedly fled in a stolen Kia Sedona minivan have been identified but not apprehended, he said.
No further updates are expected until all investigations into the incident are completed, police said.
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