Family members identify teen shot, killed on his way to school

Family members identify teen shot, killed on his way to school
Richard Harper Jr. (Source: Family photo)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The mother of an 18-year-old who was shot and killed on Monday on his way to school says she will get justice for her son’s death.

Family members identified Monday’s homicide victim from the Shawnee neighborhood as Richard Harper Jr. Harper went by the nickname “Dookie.”

Mother pleads for justice following son's shooting death near JCPS bus stop

Witnesses said Harper was near his bus stop in the 600 block of South 43rd on Monday morning around 6:45. Police believe he was going to school when someone shot him.

Harper was rushed to University of Louisville Hospital where he died later that day.

“Someone took my baby’s life,” Harper’s mother, Nicole Cowherd, said. “You can’t send your child to school to get an education. If you can’t do that what can you do? He wasn’t at no night club. He wasn’t at no party. He was going to school.”

Home surveillance video obtained exclusively by WAVE 3 News shows a two groups of kids walking on South 43rd Street. You can see cars and school buses go by.

Around 6:45, near the bus stop, someone shot Harper.

In the video, you can tell something is wrong when one person runs down the street and shortly after people come out of their homes and police arrive.

Bullets went flying and nearby homes sustained damage.

Cowherd says her son was excited to go back to school at Valley High to show off his new shoes and clothes that he got for Christmas. He was expected to graduate this year.

Cowherd called the person who killed her son a monster.

“(A) person who doesn’t value other people’s life," Cowherd said. "This isn’t my first rodeo.”

Cowherd is talking about her husband, Harper’s step-father, Charles Cowherd, 34, who was also a victim of gun violence in June 2016.

Charles Cowherd was shot and killed in the Park Hill neighborhood at Standard Avenue and 23rd Street. His case remains open and unsolved.

“I lost my husband and it’s like my world stopped and I had to get back on track to keep moving,” Cowherd said. “Now that I lost my baby I don’t think I can ever be the same again. No mother should bury her son.”

After Cowherd lost her husband, she became a voice against gun violence.

Police have not made any arrests in Harper’s case.

Anyone with information on either of these cases should call the Louisville Metro Police Department’s anonymous tipline at 502-574-LMPD (5673).

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Posted by WAVE 3 News on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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