Rantoul officers justified in the fatally shooting of an armed teenager who fled from traffic stop

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0:00 - Traffic stop, officer 1
4:12 - Traffic stop, officer 2
6:55 - Surveillance videos
8:28 - Shooting officer
16:12 - Backup officer
A Rantoul Police officer who shot a teenager dead earlier this month was found to be legally justified in using deadly force, the Champaign County State’s Attorney announced.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said that after reviewing evidence, she found no wrongdoing on the part of Sergeant Jerry King when he shot and killed 18-year-old Jordan Richardson on June 7. At the same time as Rietz’s announcement, the Rantoul Police Department published officers’ reports and body-camera footage from the shooting, all of which can be read and watched in full by clicking here.

“The thoroughness and integrity of the investigation were paramount to us. We ensured an unbiased process by involving external investigative agencies and a thorough review of the facts by the State’s Attorney,” said Rantoul Police Chief Tony Brown. “I want to express my gratitude to the community for their patience and trust throughout this process.”

Police reports, body camera footage and a summary of events compiled by Rietz indicate that during a foot chase at 12:30 p.m., Richardson was shot as he turned toward King with a gun in his hand. The pursuit started on Campbell Avenue, when Richardson fled from Officer Rene Wissel as he struggled to arrest Richardson’s companion, 20-year-old Jheremia McKown.

Wissel saw that Richardson was armed as he ran and called for backup. Responding officers picked up the pursuit and repeatedly ordered Richardson to stop or “drop the gun.” Rietz said Richardson ignored these orders as he ran through several homes’ yards and onto Belle Avenue.

King, who was driving on Belle, reported seeing Richardson emerge from between two houses and ran in front of his car. As King got out of his car and drew his gun, Richardson ran onto a driveway, tripped and fell before turning toward King with the gun in his hand.

“Because of Jordan’s actions, I believed my safety and or life could be in danger,” King said in his report. “Because of these actions, I fired my duty weapon at Jordan.”

King fired two shots from approximately 50 feet away, one of which hit Richardson in the chest. King and other officers provided medical aid on the scene until paramedics could arrive. They also reported that several members of Richardson’s family also arrived at the scene.

Richardson was taken by ambulance to Carle Hospital in Urbana approximately 15 minutes after being shot, where he was pronounced dead at 1:42 p.m.

“While this incident is undoubtedly tragic, it underscores the difficult and complex decisions law enforcement officers face daily in the line of duty,” Rantoul Police said in a statement. “The safety of our officers and the community remains our utmost priority, and we continuously strive to improve our training, policies, and procedures to minimize such occurrences.”

Rietz said that a search of the car Wissel found McKown and Richardson inside of uncovered six pounds of packaged marijuana, $2600 in cash and two loaded guns. The State Police-led investigation also determined that Richardson did not have a valid FOID card and was under the age of 21, meaning he could not lawfully possess a gun. His fingerprints were also found on the extended magazine of the gun he had when King shot him.

Rietz added that officers’ body camera footage, as well as three home security camera systems, showed events that were consistent with what the officers stated in their written reports.

“Applying the facts and evidence gathered in the Illinois State Police investigation, it is the opinion of the Champaign County State’s Attorney that Sgt. King’s use of deadly force was legally justifiable,” Rietz said.

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