MSU Holds Memorial For Football Player

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Dozens gathered Sunday afternoon to honor the life of a Missouri State University football player who was shot and killed two weeks ago in Las Vegas while visiting family.

Teammates, students, staff and family all came together in the Plaster Student Union Theather to celebrate 18-year-old Richard Nelson’s life.

He was shot while protecting his sister during a fight. And those who knew him best, say that was just his character – he was very loving and protective, but also fun.

“I’m trying my best to hold my head up,” said Nelson’s mother, Roxanne Bruce, who flew in from Las Vegas with other family members to join the celebration.

“He was a wonderful kid,” said Bruce. “It makes me happy that my son was loved not only by me but other people,”

A young life… gone too soon.

“It’s still hard to swallow sometimes because he was just here,” she said. 

Nelson left behind many memories with those he came across and will be remembered as someone who always had a smile on his face. 

“We joked right before this incident happened about him closing his gap… And I was like ‘don’t do that! That’s our trademark.’ And he was laughing about it,” said Nelson.

“Richard used to wear glasses and every time he got hit, he had to keep pushing his glasses up,” said Head Coach Dave Steckel. 

A tri-athlete in high school, Nelson played football, basketball and ran track. He received a full ride to attend MSU.

“He was always trying to prove himself to me, but he didn’t have to,” said Bruce.

Nelson and his cousin Ricky Nichols had dreamed of attending college together as kids and it all came true at Missouri State.

“We knew we were getting a really good football player,” said Stec. “We didn’t understand the impact of his happiness, his enthusiasm and all the intangibles he brought to the table.”

While he is no longer here physically, Stec says he will always be a part of the team.

“Once a Bear always a Bear,” he said. “So, he will always be a Bear.”

A 17-year-old, Richard Allen Newsome, Jr. of Las Vegas, has been charged as an adult accused of shooting Nelson.  His mother, Tiana Thomas, was also arrested on a count of accessory to murder with a deadly weapon.

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