Suspected shoplifter shot by officer ID'd, still critical

LILBURN -- The suspected shoplifter shot by a Lilburn police officer remained in critical condition Tuesday morning, officials said.

Now identified as 62-year-old Louis Richardson, the man allegedly attempted to steal a frozen pizza from the Lilburn Family Dollar store Monday afternoon when he was confronted by an officer. A struggle ensued, police said, and the officer deployed his Taser.

Richardson, though, reportedly snatched the Taser away, prompting the officer to shoot him in the chest and face. He was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center where he remained critical on Tuesday, Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley said.

"He is still in critical but stable condition and was in surgery this morning," Hedley said.

Richardson had "no known address," Hedley said. Gwinnett County jail records showed no previous criminal record, as did a Georgia Department of Corrections search.

Just before 2 p.m. Monday at the store at 5279 Lawrenceville Highway, Richardson reportedly put the frozen pizza under his shirt and was caught by employees. A responding officer asked employees if they wanted to prosecute and they said they did because they were "tired of him coming in multiple times," Hedley said.

The officer who shot Richardson -- a seven-year veteran of the force with an "excellent service record" -- was placed on paid administrative leave "for a few days." The preliminary investigation has authorities believing the use of force was justified, Hedley said.


Weston69 2 years, 5 months ago

This poor soul has been there many times . He must be a little messed up.Anyway he is not doing very well for whatever reason. We don't know his story.

The policeman did what he was trained to do...I guess.

A more enlightened approach could have been taken. Have more than one cop on scene....so any struggle would be won by the police. When the idea of tasering comes up...and it doesn't work it sounds pretty mano v mano. Going to the gun is not the answer. Stepping back and getting help....No death for shoplifting.

Now we have a shoplifter in the hospital ...I am guessing he has No Medical insurance. So the old way of law enforcement is going to cost a Lot of Money.


pcjohn 2 years, 5 months ago

If you're waiting for an"enlightened" approach from the police you'll be waiting until the Rapture.


SurelyNot 2 years, 5 months ago

Totally understand the store.s anger and frustration. Hunger is a "b", though. Why necessary to shoot in face and chest? What about hand, arm? Just seems out of porportion when our protectors let other thieves, druggies, go.


Gwinnett411 2 years, 5 months ago

Sigh First, you have to understand the capabilities of a Taser. It has the ability to incapacitate someone's muscular/neurological system using electricity. That being said, if the suspect was able to wrestle the officer's Taser away from him (which shouldn't have happened) then he had the ability at that point to incapacitate the officer and do who knows what. Ex: Take his gun and shoot him, pull out a knife and slit his throat, kick him until he lost consciousness then take his gun and shoot him. So the officer, being in fear of seriously bodily injury or death, responded appropriately with deadly force. Second, the only police officers trained to shoot people in the hand/arm are those working as actors in Hollywood. The hand/arm is such a small target it can easily be missed. Police officers are trained to shoot at the torso, which is a much larger target and holds the vital organs. If your loved one was being held hostage by a mad man I don't think you would want the bad guy to be shot in the hand.


Coolray 2 years, 5 months ago

Don't second guess law enforcement unless you were there and saw what happened. It's easy to sit on your couch guzzing beer and say what someone else should have or could have done. Put on a gun and a badge and show the rest of us just how its done or shut up!


pcjohn 2 years, 5 months ago

Just who the he%% are you to order everyone else around and tell them not to second guess the police?? When you try to act like our father you ought to pony up some worthwhile advice or shut your own trap. Maybe you're a friend of this heroic cop?


FordGalaxy 2 years, 5 months ago

From the report that I've read: The officer confronted the suspect at the cash register. A struggle ensued. There is no mention who initiated the struggle. It could be that the officer laid a hand on the man to lead him out or attempt to calm him, and the man responded negatively, perhaps taking the officer down. Or it could be that the officer gave the man no warning and simply tackled him.

Another possibility is that the man became beligerent when confronted by the officer. The officer then pulled his taser, perhaps just to intimidate the suspect into submission. The suspect, though, was able to gain control of the taser. It may be that the officer was like many people I've read posting here, and simply underestimated the suspect, based on age or appearance, and thought him no threat.

However, once the suspect had control of the taser, the officer had to resort to his service firearm to handle the situation. The suspect had a means of incapacitating the officer, and potentially injuring others. Given that he willfully engaged an officer to the point of getting the officer's taser, the officer was well within reasonable right to resort to force to defuse the situation.

He could've tried reasoning with the suspect, but again, that could've lead to more injuries. The officer simply had no way of knowing what the suspect would do. And in a pressure situation, it's hard to blame the officer for not going after some kind of tv-cop-show shot. If you wanted him to shoot the suspect in the hand, you might as well ask him to only shoot the taser out of his hand. Then again, let's give you a gun and have a beligerent suspect struggle with you while holding a taser and see how you respond.

Note: I'm not calling out anyone in particular. The use of the word "you" was merely to illustrate a point.


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