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An unarmed man was shot and killed by a Colorado deputy at point-blank range outside a middle school

In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday, a Pueblo County deputy shot and killed a man who had accidentally gotten into the wrong car in the school's pick-up line outside a middle school last year.

On February 22, 2022, a deputy named Charles McWhorter pulled 32-year-old Richard Ward from his mother's car outside Liberty Point International Middle School in Pueblo West. According to body camera footage released by attorneys representing Ward's family, Ward put something into his mouth while McWhorter spoke to him.

McWhorter shot Ward in the chest three times during a brief struggle on the ground.

Cassandra Gonzales, another deputy on scene, did not provide Ward any medical care as he bled on the ground. According to the video, Ward was never given orders, and McWhorter never warned he would use deadly force before pulling him from the car.

The incident lasted two minutes, from first contact to shots fired. Ward died outside the school as children ended their school day.

"Richard Ward's death is a profound injustice — an unarmed, cooperative citizen shot and killed in front of his mother by a Pueblo County sheriff's deputy," said Darold Killmer, the Ward family's attorney. "This was nothing short of state-sanctioned murder of a citizen who should not have been even arrested, let alone killed in broad daylight."

What kind of law enforcement do we have in this country that would assault a man without provocation and then murder him in front of a school?


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