TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Victoria Richards is the younger sister of 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards. He was killed in an officer involved shooting last November.
“I can't watch that video, I can't. I saw it once and I cant watch it anymore," Victoria Richards said regarding the body cam video of her brother being shot. "Because I feel every one of those shots that hit my brother.”
She remembers him as a creative, energetic, and loving older brother.
“We were really close because a lot of times it was just him and I. We were always in new schools and he made friends very easily, he was very outgoing.”
But he had a troubled upbringing. Victoria says physical and emotional abuse from their father led him to a heroin addiction at an early age.
"I spent most of my life helping him, trying to help him, being there for him.”
Richard Lee Richards spent most of his life in prison. Joining the firefighting crew helped him get off drugs while serving time. But during Richards’ incarceration in 1995, Victoria says he fell off a cliff. His injuries took a major toll on his health, eventually binding him to a wheelchair.
“He came out with severe brain damage. He came to live with me and I taught him how to drive, how to count money. Everything came back pretty quickly but it was like having a child again.”
He turned back to drugs, and in 2018, his sister took him to Salvation Army in Tucson to get help. They rarely spoke after that day, despite Victoria’s efforts to get in touch with him.
“He was really angry with me when I dropped him off because I wasn’t capable to take care of him, he needed more help than I could give him.”
News of her brother’s death left Victoria wanting to help others like him. She says she will soon file a lawsuit against the Tucson Police Department and the officer who shot her brother.
They provided this statement when we asked about the case:
“The Pima County Attorney’s Office declines comment on cases that are under investigation, and the statement that the County Attorney commented beyond that is not accurate.”
As for Richards' sister, she's hoping for justice for her brother while grieving the future they never got to share.
“He just had so much turmoil in his life. I just wanted his last years to be nice. And I didn’t get to do that for him.”
Perla Shaheen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Perla graduated in May 2020 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science. Share your story ideas and important issues with Perla by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.