By SHELLEY TERRY - email@example.com
ASHTABULA — A grieving mother on Monday described watching her grandson put a gun to her son’s head, pull the trigger and seeing her son collapse to the ground.
After Sunday’s Easter service, Richard Riddle, 52, had gone back inside Hiawatha Church of God in Christ when his son showed up, said Riddle’s mother, Mattie Richardson.
Her grandson, Reshad Riddle, 28, had walked up the sidewalk along the church. He asked to speak to his father. Richardson went inside to get him.
“I thought he just wanted to talk to him,” she said. “I saw my grandson talking to his father and I saw him shoot him. The blood. I saw everything.”
She ran to her son and knelt over him, she said.
“I had three children — two sons and a daughter,” she said. “I’ve lost two sons.”
Ann Riddle, 50, of Ashtabula, is Richardson’s daughter, and sister to the deceased, said of a younger brother, “He was 5 years old and was hit by a motorcycle,” she said.
Mattie Richardson couldn’t find words to describe it all. She’s finding strength in prayer and “the saints” from her church, she said.
Sunday’s tragedy has saddened the entire community, said Betty Holman of Ashtabula, who also is Richard Riddle’s aunt.
“It seems like a dream,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like it’s real ... like it happened on Easter Sunday.”
Ann Riddle said, “We are a very close, supportive family.”
The family also has supported Reshad Riddle despite his troubles with the law, Ann Riddle said.
“He was a good kid,” she said. “As a teen, he got on the wrong track but we stood by him.”
Reshad Riddle now faces charges of aggravated murder, having a weapon under a disability, and carrying a concealed weapon, according to Municipal Court records. If convicted, he could receive the death penalty or life in prison.
Reshad’s cousin, Tirrell Riddle, 28, of Ashtabula, spent time with Reshad on Saturday.
“He showed me the Koran,” he said. “He talked about how his eyes were opened.”
Reshad’s great-uncle, Adam Holman of Ashtabula, said he saw Reshad come across the church property Sunday.
“(After the shooting) he walked right past people, several people,” Holman said. “He came into the church, holding the gun up in the air — and went up to the pulpit.”
Holman got down on his hands and knees and crawled out of the church.
More than 150 people attended church Sunday and most of them were still in the church or on the grounds when the shooting occurred, he said.
Ann Riddle said she couldn’t believe what was happening — a man who looked like her nephew shot her brother. Her brain had difficulty computing what her eyes were seeing, she said.
“’Reshad!’ I yelled,” she said. “His eyes were glassy. He didn’t look like himself.”
She ran over to her brother and prayed over his body with her mother.
“I said, ‘Richard, it’s gonna be all right,’” Ann Riddle said. “I patted him on the chest.”
Her mother shook her head and looked down as Ann described the scene. When she did speak, Mattie said, “Richard had a great sense of humor, and he loved to barbecue.”
When contacted by phone Monday night, Riddle’s 30-year-old twin daughters, who live in North Carolina, said they are crushed by the news. They were packing their bags to come to Ashtabula to be with their family.
“He was the love of my life,” Asia Riddle said of her father.
Her sister, Monifa Riddle, sobbed as she said, “We will always be daddy’s little girls; always and forever.”