'We all lost:' daughter remembers Samuel Vincent Richmond as outgoing, caring
Samuel “Vincent” Richmond was shot and killed by four Peoria Police Department officers around 10 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3 near Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Police Chief Eric Echevarria has said Richmond was armed and placed officers in a life-threatening situation.
Richmond's daughter, Eterica Bradley, the next to youngest of his eight children, says he was outgoing, lovable and joyful.
“Growing up with him, especially being my dad, he was the first man I fell in love with,” said Bradley, sitting on the porch of Richmond’s North Bergan Avenue home. “He’ll give you advice, he’ll give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.”
Bradley said her father met a lot of people and formed numerous relationships working at the East Bluff Kroger on Wisconsin Avenue for 35 years. He earned the nickname “Meat Man” during his time at the grocery store and became a recognized face in the community.
“He loves working. So he stays dedicated, especially with him being older, you know, he don't want to bounce around to a lot of different jobs,” said Bradley. “So he always found a job that he liked and stuck with it.”
His decades at Kroger were even prominently featured in a piece of public art.
“He was on a mural on the East Bluff on Wisconsin towards the end of the block and, you know, he was the 'Meat Man,' so they caught him in a picture holding up polish sausages and it was up for years,” said Bradley. “I was so proud, like, everybody that rode past that was in the car with me, I’m gonna let you know that, ‘That’s my dad, up there on the wall.’ Because he just meant that much to me.”
Bradley said he was a listening dad, and later a grandfather to a “host of grandkids.”
“He’s a ‘Okay, I'm gonna let you learn. I'm gonna let you make mistakes and learn from them. But I'm also going to give you the life lesson behind it.’ He always had a lesson to give,” she said. “Whether it was: ‘Don't let this world eat you up and spit you out.’ That was one of his favorites. And I, at this point, I got to just live by it.”
Bradley said he had lived in Peoria his whole life. After news of his death became public, she received an outpouring of support.
“I've heard from people that he's worked with for years, I've heard from people that have met him years ago when they were children,” she said. “I've heard from people that he worked at Kroger's with who’ve only maybe came across him one or two times.”
Bradley attributed the number of people reaching out to Richmond’s energy and smile, describing him as loving and warm-hearted.
“We all lost a great body, you know, a great human spirit,” she said. “We all lost. Nobody’s winning here.”
Bradley said the days since the shooting have felt like a “nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”
“I can't explain the feeling. I just feel it. It’s empty. Like no,” she said. “Like I stare off into space. It feels like you know, I'm dreaming. I doze off and I think I've been asleep for hours. And I've only nodded off for 15 minutes. It's like time is, like, slowed down. But it's really flying.”
However, Bradley said that she and her family aren’t alone in feeling the loss.
“I feel like the city is suffering from this loss. We should not have to be suffering like this. You know, it's usually supposed to be personal,” she said. “But it's not personal. It's city-wide, like the whole city knew Meat Man.”
She, and her family need more answers about what happened in the park on Monday night, she said. The exact circumstances that led to officers using deadly force remain unclear.
“I understand things being under investigation. But as the family that stayed in the house, you know, even his other children, they should be able to call or even go down to the Peoria Police Department and have some type of closure,” said Bradley. “It's just nothing being given out."
Bradley also has questions about the information that has been released to the public so far. According to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood, Richmond was shot multiple times.
“As many shots that got fired off for one man, you know, I feel like there's proper preparation for certain situations,” said Bradley. “And if proper preparation for this particular situation wasn't handled carefully. And the way it was supposed to be. We definitely need answers.”
The shooting is currently under investigation by the Illinois State Police.
“You know, y'all should be coming to us with answers,” Bradley said. “Apologies. Statements, anything.”
Bradley said she has been reliving memories with her father. One in particular stands out from less than a month ago.
“This is one time he came to my house. And it was kind of random. But I always told him anytime he wanted to come by he could,” she said. “And he played his favorite song.”
That song is “Can You Stand The Rain” by '80s R&B group New Edition, she said.
“He just grabbed me and he's like: ‘Come on, you know how to step, you're gonna learn how to do it.’ And I'm like, ‘No, Dad, I don't know how to do it. But I’ll just get up and dance with you.’ And it was just a vibe,” said Bradley. “He was smiling and laughing, snapping his fingers. And that's just something that I'll never get to see again. That's why it hurts so bad. Like, I'll never get to experience that again. One last day I saw my dad and I guess that was it.”
So far, there’s been no further information released on the shooting since the announcement of the State Police’s investigation.
Peoria Mayor Rita Ali told WCBU that all four officers who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave, adding there’s usually a 48-hour waiting period before those officers are interviewed for the investigation. Those interviews could have started as soon as Thursday.
“It's just like we're waiting, like the rest of the community,” said Bradley. “So we just want answers, as his family. Justice for my dad, long live my dad. His name will forever reign in Peoria.”