Police post $20,000 reward in effort to solve 2018 killing of ex-NBA player's dad

Denver Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson (22) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 9, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 125-116.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Former Denver Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson during a 2018 game in Denver. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials on Tuesday announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the drive-by killing of the father of former NBA player Richard Jefferson 4½ years ago.

Richard Jefferson Sr., 65, was shot on the evening of Sept. 19, 2018, while chatting with a group of people in the 1400 block of Paulsen Avenue in Compton. At least one gunman opened fire on Jefferson from a dark-colored vehicle, according to sheriff’s officials.

Investigators have said they believe the shooter or shooters were gang members who targeted Jefferson because they falsely thought he belonged to a rival gang. Neither Jefferson nor the people he was speaking with had ever been involved with gangs, sheriff’s homicide Lt. Patricia Thomas said at a news conference announcing the reward.

“It appears Mr. Jefferson was an innocent bystander killed in a senseless act of violence,” Thomas said. “Mr. Jefferson was killed for no reason other than he was being friendly.”

The lieutenant added that investigators were convinced there were witnesses in the area who could help them solve the case.

Jefferson’s brother, Kenneth Jefferson, addressed the news conference, saying in somber tones that Richard “was a brother, he was a son, he was a father, he was a grandfather who was very much loved.”

Richard Jefferson’s son played for several teams during his 17 seasons in the NBA, including the Cleveland Cavaliers championship club in 2016.

The reward was approved by the county Board of Supervisors. The panel first issued a reward in the case in 2020.

Investigators asked that anyone with information call the sheriff’s homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. They said callers could remain anonymous.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.