Richards, the editor of an e-mail newsletter covering the high-crime Oakwood neighborhood of Venice, California, was shot to death at around 4:15 a.m while walking near his house.
Neighborhood News reported on petty theft, drug sales, and other local crimes. Richards was also a longtime community activist and block captain for his community's Model Neighborhood Program.
Press reports quoted Venice councilwoman Ruth Galanter as saying that Richards's murder "appears to have been a straightforward assassination." She added that Richards had made many enemies in the course of his work as a journalist and activist.
At the time of his murder, Los Angeles Police Department officers said that they had no suspects and were not sure about the motive for the crime.