Crenshaw shooting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 10, 2010

By Billy Davis

A Virginia man who was shot and killed February 7 by a Crenshaw police officer was preparing to torture and kill his ex-girlfriend in her home, authorities said Wednesday.

District Attorney John Champion, speaking at a press conference Wednesday, called officer Sean Shelton’s shooting of Lawrence Richardson a “justifiable shooting.”

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Champion said Shelton shot Richardson “10 to 12 times” after Richardson opened fire with a .22 caliber pistol at a home on Pollan Road.

The officer, who was shot in the face and in the abdomen, is recovering at The Med. 

Authorities called the press conference to announce their findings of the shooting investigation performed by the Miss. Bureau of Investigations and the Panola County Sheriff’s Department.

The victim’s name, Joyce Betts, was made public Wednesday when Mayor Oscar Barlow read aloud a letter of thanks from Betts.The letter also mentioned her daughter, Rose, who also would have entered the home.

Betts, who is Richardon’s ex-girlfriend, had called Shelton to her home after she learned the lights were not working.

Champion said Wednesday that Betts, in the days leading up to the Sunday night shooting, had received threatening text messages from Richardson.

Authorities have already said Shelton saved Betts’ life, but Champion added more concrete, and chilling, facts Wednesday. Richardson had secured rope and plastic ties to a coffee table, readying it to hold down his victim, the district attorney said.

A butcher knife, .22 caliber rifle and a tarpaulin were also found in the home, according to Champion.

“He intended to kill her,” Champion said of Richardson. “He also had torture in mind.”

 Richardon’s criminal record includes abduction, burglary and robbery.

“It takes a great big heart to do what (Shelton) did – to enter a dark house like that,” said Sheriff Otis Griffin. “To me that’s a superhero.”

Barlow said a medical fund has been established at First Security Bank branches for Shelton.