Relatives of John Crawford, the man shot dead by police at a Beavercreek Walmart, say they’ve contacted civil rights organizations because they believe the shooting was not justified.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
They believe he was killed possibly after he picked up a toy gun in the store.
Crawford, 22, of Ridge Drive in Fairfield, was identified as the man Beavercreek police shot and killed Tuesday night.
LeeCee Johnson, who said she is the mother of Crawford’s children, said she was on a cell phone call with Crawford when he was shot by officers. She said Crawford went to the area to visit family members.
“We was just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were. And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him,” she said, adding: “And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”
Attorney General Mike DeWine has since confirmed it was an MK-177 air rifle:
The weapon was an MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle, manufactured by Crosman. It is known as a “variable pump air rifle.”Police have not released video of the shooting and no confirmation on whether he picked the air rifle up in the Walmart, but they do sell that exact model.
April and Ronald Ritchie, of Riverside, told WHIO that they were in the hardware department Tuesday around 8:20 p.m. when they saw a man walking the aisles carrying what they thought was a real gun, pointing it toward the sky. The couple called 911.One of the police officers involved was also involved in Beavercreek's first fatal police-involved shooting.
The couple said they followed Crawford at a safe distance. "Anytime I saw people walking his way, I would get their attention," April Ritchie said. She said the man was cradling a cellphone between his left ear and shoulder while he messed with the rifle.
"He just kept messing with it and I heard a clicking," April Ritchie said.
Ronald Ritchie said Crawford "was just waving [the gun] at children and people...I couldn't hear anything that he was saying. I'm thinking that he is either going to rob the place or he's there to shoot somebody.
"He didn't really want to be looked at and when people did look at him, he was pointing the gun at them. He was pointing at people. Children walking by," Ronald Ritchie said.