Crenshaw officer kills suspect possibly hatching torture, murder plot

By Janice Broach - bio | email

CRENSHAW, MS (WMC-TV) - The family of Crenshaw, Mississippi police officer Sean Shelton rushed to The MED Sunday night after an intruder ambushed him.

Shelton fired several rounds back, killing Lawrence Richardson, a man investigators said waited inside the house where the incident occurred with a plan to torture and kill his ex-girlfriend and possibly her daughter.

Loree Roberts, the woman's sister, called Shelton a hero.

"I think he's a hero," Roberts said.  "There's no other way to describe him.  If he wasn't there, my sister and my niece would not be alive."

Investigators said Richardson texted his former girlfriend several times threatening to kill her.

Joyce Betts drove into her driveway Sunday night and noticed her security light did not come on. When she unlocked the front door and flipped the light switch in the house those lights did not come on.

She left and called police.  Officer Sean Shelton walked in a door.  Richardson was hiding behind it and started shooting, hitting Shelton in the face and abdomen.  Shelton fired back and killed Richardson.

Inside the house, investigators discovered Richardson's horrifying plan.

Investigators said Richardson covered a coffee table and tied a rope and zip ties around all four legs to use as restraints.  He also had a butcher knife placed in the center of a towel, a tarp, and a rifle.

"He intended to probably kill her and from the looks of it probably torture her," District Attorney John Champion said.

Champion said the shooting has been ruled justifiable.

Richardson has a lengthy record out of Virginia that includes kidnapping.

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