An alleged gunman at an Ohio Walmart was shot and killed by police, who later realized he had a toy rifle. Investigators say police acted properly in the shooting, and the suspect was pointing the toy gun at shoppers. Family members say he was killed in cold blood, and his civil rights were violated, according to an August 7 SpreadIt report.
John Crawford, 22, of Fairfield, an engaged father of two — with another baby on the way — was killed in a volley of bullets from police responding to reports of a gunman “brandishing a weapon” inside Walmart.
Sources say a 911 call was received of a man allegedly walking around the store and pointing a gun at patrons and staff. Another witness said the African American male appeared to be just playing with the gun as he walked through the toy and pet departments. However, they grew concerned he had bad intentions because he looked “serious and did not appreciate when people made eye contact with him.”
Beavercreek Police Department said the gun-wielding man was met by five officers upon arrival, who asked him to drop the weapon. However, after he did not comply with the orders, authorities fired several shots and handcuffed Crawford. He was transported to a local hospital in Dayton, but was pronounced dead a short time later.
The so-called Walmart gunman’s fiance shared a starkly different account of the police report. She and her mate were on the phone at the time, and she heard the entire scene unfold via her cellphone.
LeeCee Johnson had this to say about the fatal encounter:
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. And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”
In a strange twist to this story, Tasha Thomas, a woman who identified herself as Crawford’s current girlfriend, came forward after the shooting. Thomas said she was in the Ohio Walmart store at the time police evacuated the store over a reported gunman, but was in another aisle at the time shots were fired. However, her statement to police was that the man was not armed when they entered the store together.
Crawford’s family members accuse the officers of intentionally gunning down the man, and are filing civil rights charges. The local chapter of the NAACP has been notified, but no further details are available at this time.
The suspected gunman at Walmart and his fiance were due to be married over the weekend. Thomas had not yet told him of her pregnancy.