EXCLUSIVE: Family of house party victim healing from tragedy, seeking justice

EXCLUSIVE: Family of house party victim healing from tragedy, seeking justice

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Growing up with a large and loving family, Richard Collier would take time to put a smile on everyone's face.

That cheek-to-cheek smile is one thing Collier's mother, Dawn Boyd, will not see in person again, after getting a call that changed her life forever.

"The coroner came up and told me he had been shot, and he was gone," Dawn Boyd said.

The 24-year-old Richard Collier was shot and killed on May 14 inside a home on the 5900 block of Hodges Drive, off of Warm Springs Road.

Collier's relatives told WTVM he was getting off a late shift at work when he went to that party, not knowing it would cost him his life.

An altercation broke out inside the party. When shots were fired, they injured Collier, leaving his family wishing they could have shielded him from the bullets.

"You know how you just wish that you could change something?" said Collier's cousin, Desiree Strickland. "That was my initial thing. I just wanted to rewind time, just a little bit," she said.

Despite losing Collier, his family said his infectious sense of humor, razor-sharp wit, and kind soul will not be forgotten any time soon.

"He was filled with lots and lots of jokes," Boyd said, "and lots and lots of smiles."

When asked how she has dealt with the tragedy, Boyd said she has found support from those outside the immediate family who also grew to know and love Richard.

"One thing that helped me get through this the most - faith, of course, that's hands down - but it's his friends," she said. "His friends gave back a part of him to me, and just being there for him."

Police continue to search for the suspect who shot the weapon that killed Collier. Collier's stepfather, Tom Boyd, said he urges everyone in the Chattahoochee Valley community to keep their loved ones safe.

"If you have a loved one, dear to your heart," Tom Boyd said, "take a minute and think about them not being there."

Boyd also hopes Columbus Police will capture the suspected shooter, 23-year-old Drevon Johnson.

"He needs to be brought to justice, so Richard's family can start healing," Tom Boyd said.

Collier's body was laid to rest on May 20. His family said his humorous spirit will shine on his loved ones forever.

Anyone who has any information on the suspect's location is urged to call the Columbus Police Homicide/Robbery Unit at 706-653-3400, or call 911.

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