Littlefield community honors Lubbock murder victim with balloon release

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 8:38 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Littlefield community released balloons Monday night to honor Thomas Richardson, who was murdered in Lubbock Saturday. His family says the 29-year-old grew up in Littlefield, alongside Julio Gutierrez, 31, who confessed to killing him.

Richardson’s family and friends say he lived free. While Littlefield is a small town, his loved ones say it is a tight-knit community.

“He was a damn good guy, you know. A lot of people say we was like brothers, but we were brothers, we weren’t like brothers, you know,” Richardson’s friend Isaac Bautista said.

With a nickname like ‘Cheeto,’ his family says he was funny, the life of the party and a high school football star.

“Let me tell you, once he broke loose, no one was catching him,” family-friend Dezerae Ornelas said.

Following his lead, his little brothers became ‘Dorito’ and ‘Frito.’ Tyreese Jackson, the youngest, says his brother always pushed him to be better.

“We competed, anything we did. Sports, we were out here playing football with guys way older than us, out on the streets, right here on 5th street,” Jackson said.

More than an athlete, his family says he was his 12-year-old daughter Aubree’s whole world. She describes her dad as funny, loving, and caring. She says he always wanted to try knew things. Dezerae says he was an amazing dad.

His family says it was hard to believe Richardson was gone, but even harder to believe who did it. Aubree’s mom, Anissa Ornelas, says he and Gutierrez were friends and coworkers.

“I think it’s just more heartbreaking that that was supposed to be his friend, his brother. I mean, we all knew one another, we were family. I just, I don’t understand how his brother could do that to him,” Ornelas said.

Jackson says he doesn’t know what happened, he just misses his brother. He says Richardson was a little guy with a big heart. Ornelas says he would want his community to come together as a family.

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