I hope killers rot in hell, says shooting victim Rico's mum
RICO Gordon's mother hopes his murderers "rot in hell".
More than a year after his death, the 21-year-old's grieving family and friends are still struggling to accept he's gone.
But when Rickel Adams and Shakah Anderson were jailed for life for killing him during a shootout on Stapleton Road, the tragic reality struck home.
His mum Anna Gordon, 44, told the Post: "I wish they would rot in hell. They need to be punished but we're not going to get Rico back.
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"I have prayed every day that justice would be served. I could never forgive these people because to forgive you would have to forget and that would be impossible.
"I cannot even believe, still, that Rico's gone. It's like he's been on holiday or something – it's really strange, I don't want to accept that he's gone.
"I always expect him to come bounding down the stairs.
"Rico had never been in trouble in his life. If there was a fight, he would be the first to walk away.
"I never even heard him swear in my life. Rico and guns – never."
But in the early hours of July 3 last year, trouble found him on Stapleton Road after the St Paul's Carnival.
Tragically, friends had tried to persuade him not to even come to Bristol.
Mrs Gordon, who lives in Notting Hill, London, added: "Rico had the Notting Hill carnival on his doorstep but he would stay in – he wasn't a carnival person. He hadn't gone to Bristol that night for the carnival.
"Even his girlfriend said don't come to Bristol because sometimes there's trouble."
One of Rico's closest friends, Nathan Tull, had also tried to persuade him to stay in London that night.
"It was the David Haye world title fight that night and I had the fight ordered," he said. "I remember being on the phone to Rico saying 'don't go to Bristol, come and watch the fight with me'."
But Rico, who had a girlfriend in Bristol called Maya Jama, came with friends and got caught in the crossfire of a gunfight.
Every time she comes to the city, Mrs Gordon feels compelled to visit the place her son died.
She added: "I go to where he died every time, but I don't feel him there, I feel him at home. I just have to go there and stand on that spot."
The first time she went there the street was still bullet-ridden.
"It was like a Western," she said, and she urged young people to steer clear of guns.
She added: "I would say to anyone, don't pick up a gun, don't pick up a knife to take someone else's life. The consequences are indescribable. This is not life, it is not a future, all it brings is sadness and destruction. Do something positive with your lives."
Nathan, 22, who had known him since he was 12 years old, said: "When I first went to where Rico died I was shocked. There were bullets as far as the eye could see. He was like a brother to me. In my head he's not gone at all. He's still here."
His loved ones, who say he always had a smile on his face, say they will most remember his kindness, his love, his laughter, generosity and positivity.
They said Rico was someone who friends would always come to with their problems.
Before his death he was working in a clothes shop but was hoping to start college and was hoping his girlfriend would move to London with him.
A skilful footballer, he supported Liverpool and loved nothing better than a kick-about with his mates, who described him as like a young Steven Gerrard. His beloved Reds' results would be the only thing he took personally.
More than 900 people went to Rico's funeral and the procession filled Ladbroke Grove in Notting HIll.
At the cemetery in which he is buried, Nathan put up a big Liverpool flag in his memory.
"Last time I was there I swear to God the Liverpool flag suddenly flew and I thought 'that was Rico'," he said. "Rico was like an angel on earth."
On the anniversary of his death – which fell during the trial at Bristol Crown Court – family and friends held a memorial day in the park near his home and so far two CDs have been made with family and friends contributing songs in his loving memory.
In his youth, Rico used to MC and DJ, but later just enjoyed listening to music, namely garage and "grime".
He was nicknamed "Vager" after Vega, a character from the cult computer game Street Fighter II.
Rico leaves siblings Moses, 13, Calita, 24, and Selah, 25.
His aunty Souna Sonko-Wilde, 43, said: "People who pick up a gun or a knife may get their one second of revenge and justification, but the backlash from it hurts thousands of people. All this gun and knife crime has to stop because people will always get hurt."
Avon and Somerset Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Bevan said: "This case serves to highlight the dangers of illegally held firearms and their indiscriminate effect when used for a criminal purpose."
In 2009, Anderson, then living in Chaplin Road, Easton, was found not guilty of gunning down two men at an anti-guns Dizzee Rascal concert in 2002.
The jury failed to believe the evidence of a gangster-turned-supergrass and acquitted him.