On Tuesday, August 5 2014, 22 year old John Crawford was shot and killed by police, in an Ohio Walmart store. Crawford speaking to the mother of his children on his cell phone when police shot him down. LeeCee Johnson, the mother of his children, told WHIO:
“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.”
Prior to the shooting a 911 caller, Ronald Ritchie, reported seeing a black man with a gun at the Beaver Creek Walmart. He claimed that the man was pointing the gun at people, including small children.
On Wednesday, August 6, a day after the fatal shooting, the state’s Attorney General’s office reported that the gun was not real. It was an air gun of the same make and model that Walmart sells in their stores.
In an interview with Newscenter 7, Ritchie told reporters that he saw Crawford fall to the ground, then try to get up and ‘go for either the officer or try to grab the gun again.” That interview was conducted before the AG’s announcement that the gun was not real.
Oddly enough, at the time of the shooting, Ronald Ritchie told the 911 operator that he couldn’t tell what was happening. At one point during the call he said that Crawford was ‘down,’ then he claimed that Crawford was running away, then he stated that he ‘heard’ that Crawford was running. Then he stated he didn’t know. Listen to the 911 calls here.
According to local media, April Ritchie, Ronald Ritchie’s wife, said Crawford was holding his phone between his ear and his shoulder, while also moving the rifle around. “He just kept messing with it and I heard it clicking,” she said in an interview on the day of the shooting.
While the Ritchie’s claim that other shoppers felt threatened by Crawford, it appears that Ritchie was the only Walmart shopper to call 911.
That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why didn’t any of the people Ritchie claims Crawford pointed the air gun at, also call 911 for help?
The Ritchie’s were more than likely seeing a man who was thinking about buying an air gun. Crawford was probably “messing with it” to see how and if it was worth buying. He probably never realized that there were at least two people in the store who thought the gun was real, until the police came at him.
Crawford’s family has contacted civil rights organizations as well as the NAACP. Both officers that were involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. Crawford’s family and friends are also demanding to see security camera footage of the shooting and the moments leading up to it. So far, that footage has not been released.
Crawford was the father of two small children, the youngest just 4 months old. LeeCee Johnson recently found out that she is pregnant with the couple’s third child. Sadly, John Crawford was killed before she had a chance to tell him about the pregnancy.
As for Walmart, here’s a thought, STOP SELLING GUNS. Toy guns that look like real guns get real people killed. Real guns also really kill real people. How many shootings need to take place in your stores, before you stop putting profits above human lives?