No charges filed against Aurora Police officer who shot and killed Jor’Dell Richardson

Tony Gorman/CPR News
Family and friends gather at the Aurora Municipal Center on Friday, June 16, 2023, to remember Jor’Dell Richardson, a 14-year-old robbery suspect fatally shot by Aurora police earlier this month.

Updated 5:46 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023

The Aurora Police officer who shot and killed 14-year-old Jor’Dell Richardson will not face charges. 

The district attorney for the 18th Judicial District cleared Officer Roch Gruszeczka of criminal liability in a report released Wednesday.

“Officer Gruszeczka was legally justified in using deadly physical force,” the report stated.

The District’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) investigated the June 1 shooting. They also cleared Officer James Snapp of criminal charges and said he was justified in using physical force. 

The shooting has prompted more calls for accountability for APD officers from Richardson’s family and community leaders. It also prompted multiple investigations, including an internal review from APD’s internal affairs bureau, as well as the inquiry from the judicial response team. The officers involved in the shooting were put on administrative leave. Richardson had no criminal history, according to the report. 

The DA’s investigation included body-worn camera video and surveillance videos that show the teenager being chased, tackled and shot. Officers begin CPR and call for help. Video shows Richardson had a weapon, but it is unclear if he reached for it or intended to use it when he was being chased by police. 

The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun. 

“Consistent with my previous statements, our officers had to make split-second decisions based upon the information available to them and their own observations,” interim-chief of police Art Acevedo said. “I believe the 18th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team made a fair and just decision today.”

“Regardless of this finding, the death of a young man is a tragedy for his family and extended community, and it will continue to weigh heavily on members of our department,” he said. 

What happened on June 1

The body camera footage from two officers, released earlier this summer, shows police with Aurora’s Gang and Robbery Investigation Team responding to the suspected robbery at a convenience store on the afternoon of June 1. Two officers spot Richardson wearing a white hoodie and medical mask outside of the store. 

He runs from the officers, and they chase him into a nearby alleyway, where they tackle and shoot the 14-year-old within a matter of seconds. 

As officers chase Richardson down the alleyway, video shows the teenager reaching toward his waistband. 

Seconds later, Officer James Snapp tackles the teenager. 

“Stop, please. You got me,” Richardson said. 

“Gun, gun. Let go of the (expletive) gun,” said Officer Roch Gruszeczka. “I’m going to shoot your ass! Dude, I’m going to shoot you!” 

Five seconds later, Gruszeczka fires a single shot into Richardson’s upper abdomen. Video from both officers is obscured by clothing.

Afterward, Richardson pleads for help as he quickly loses consciousness, video footage shows. 

Shortly after, another officer begins CPR on Richardson. 

Officers called for an ambulance, which took him to University Hospital in Aurora and doctors pronounced Richardson dead from his gunshot wound at 5:05 p.m.

CPR has reached out to Richardson’s family attorney. 

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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