Richardson, who pleaded guilty in Iowa Smoke Shop shooting, sentenced to 75 years

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A judge sentenced a man who shot and killed two people and injured two others outside a smoke shop near Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids last year to 75 years in prison.

Andre Richardson, 27, pleaded guilty in June to two counts of second-degree murder, attempted murder, and willful injury causing serious injury, among other charges.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden alleged in court filings that Richardson arrived at the Iowa Smoke Shop, located at 70 Kirkwood Court SW, in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 18. Security camera video obtained by police showed that he was in the front seat of a vehicle driven by Alexandra Smith, 24, with Deshawn Hull, Jr., 21, Kenyauta Keith, 19, and Colby Shannon, 22, passengers in the vehicle. All occupants of the vehicle were previously persons of interest sought by the Cedar Rapids Police Department in connection to this case.

The vehicle containing Richardson allegedly arrived minutes before a black Buick Rendezvous driven by Kayla Panos-Blackcloud, 19, parked next to it. That sport utility vehicle also contained Booker McKinney, 19, in the front seat, along with Matrell Johnson, 18, and Royal Abram, 18, in the back seat.

Upon the arrival of the SUV, prosecutors said that Richardson exited his vehicle and fired numerous shots into the SUV with a .45 caliber handgun at close range toward all of the occupants. After the shooting, Richardson allegedly got back in the vehicle driven by Smith which then fled the scene. He was later found hiding in a garage in southwest Cedar Rapids.

Richardson shot and killed Abram and Johnson. The two other 19-year-olds were injured in the shooting.

On Tuesday, Richardson addressed the court and said he shot at the vehicle in front of the shop because he thought someone inside had shot at him while he was sitting in his girlfriend’s house days earlier. He said he recognized the vehicle because someone had posted a picture of it on Facebook.

Richardson said he didn’t know who was inside but just decided to start shooting. He also apologized to the families.

“In conclusion of this explanation, I would like to extend my sincere apologies to everyone affected by this, especially the families of Royal and Matrell,” Richardson said.

Panos-Blackcloud suffered a severe injury after Richardson shot her in the head leaving her with limited mobility on the left side of her body. She said she didn’t know him before that night.

“If you had a problem with someone that night why didn’t you fight them with your hands?” Panos-Blackcloud asked.

Police, prosecutors, and others said there were four victims in this case, but the family of the shooter said they are losing a loved one as well.

“I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m trying to come to reality with all of this and I just cannot; I can’t come to terms with it,” Jessica Hawkins, Richardson’s fiancée and mother of two, said.

The families of the victims say a 75-year sentence, the maximum allowed by the charges, is still not long enough.

Andre Richardson Sentencing

Sentencing hearing for Andre Richardson who pleaded guilty in June to two counts of 2nd Degree Murder and 6 other charges in connection with a fatal shooting outside of a Cedar Rapids smoke shop in May 2019.

Posted by KCRG-TV9 on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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