Many questions still surround the Ohio Walmart shooting in Beavercreek which left two dead and four children without a parent. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a 911 called told police a man had a rifle in the store and was pointing it at children or customers. The man was 22-year-old John Crawford and the rifle as a toy air soft gun.
John Crawford was shot and killed by Dayton area police officers who responded to the 911 call at Beavercreek Walmart, but he was not the only fatality. Fellow shopper and innocent bystander Angela Williams, 37, also died. Williams was a nurse with a heart condition who just happened to be near the shooting while shopping with her 10-year-old daughter. Angela Williams collapsed and died as she scrambled to get both her daughter and her daughter safely away from the gun fire, which she may have thought was part of a mass shooting incident. Williams was supposed to get married this Sunday.
Crawford has two children with the girlfriend he was talking to on the cell phone as he was shot – a third child was on the way but LeeCee Johnson had not told him about the pregnancy yet. According to the girlfriend, Crawford had be trying out video games near the section toy sections of the store where the toy guns and air soft rifles are kept. The shooting victim was at the store to buy supplies to make s’mores.
The Dayton Daily News reported that air soft guns are not kept in the toy section at the Beavercreek Walmart. “Realistic looking BB guns” are stored in the sporting goods section of the store. Local reports state that one BB gun box in the sporting goods section was open. It is not known who took the gun from the box, it could have been Crawford or an unknown person or child who had simply left it in the nearby toy section.
Police officers who responded to the Beavercreek Walmart 911 call reportedly told John Crawford to put the gun down when they encountered him in the store aisle. Crawford’s girlfriend said she heard him saying “It’s not real,” as the law enforcement officers told him to get on the ground and then gunshots were fired.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office is still investigating the officer-involved shooting. Tasha Thomas, a friend of Crawford’s with him at the Beavercreek Walmart told the media that he did not have any type of gun on him when she gave him a ride to the store. Attorney General’s Office representative Jill Del Greco said BCI will not release any information about the rifle in Crawford’s hand, including whether or not it was a toy, until the investigation into the shooting is completed. Del Greco also stated the office would not be disclosing which police officer fired the shots which killed the Walmart shopper at this point.
Beavercreek Police Chief Bennis Evers chose not to answer questions about during a press conference about the Walmart shooting held yesterday. The Ohio police chief did choose to read a prepared statement which stated that officers Sean Williams and David Darkow likely acted in an appropriate manner when one of them shot John Crawford. The 22-year-old died shortly after being transported to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
Excerpt from Chief Evers’ statement:
“The officers gave verbal commands to the subject to drop the weapon. The subject … was shot after failing to comply with the officers’ commands. The quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers.”
The Beavercreek Police Chief asked the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and BCI to take charge of the investigation into the fatal shooting at the Walmart store. “We’ve been asked to do this many times. We have very good investigators at BCI and what we’ll be trying to determine is exactly what happened. We’re going to interview every witness that we can find,” DeWine said.
LeeCee Johnson added this about the Ohio Walmart shooting:
“I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human. First of all, they used a rifle. They could have Tazed him, or … just used the handgun, not something so powerful or forceful like he was an animal or something.”
Ronald Ritchie, a former Marine, made the 911 call. He reportedly told the dispatcher that a man was pointing a black rifle at people in the pet section of the store. “He’s loading it right now. He looked like he was trying to load it, I don’t know. He just pointed it at two children,” Ritchie said. According to the former military man and his wife some shoppers scurried in different directions, some ran into a stockroom, while Crawford was handling the toy gun.
“We moved up to get a closer view, which is not a good idea, but it happened. We were hiding behind an aisle,” Ritchie said. His wife, April, said she heard the police officers warn Crawford. “I heard, put it down, put it down. I heard two shots after I saw him turn. He still had the weapon in his hand,” she said.
The couple said that Crawford fell backwards when he was struck by the gunshots, but then he got up again and went towards the office who shot him. The officer then reportedly tackled Crawford to the ground. “He looked like he was going to go violently. If he would have dropped the weapon he could have come out with his life. But, unfortunately, he didn’t,” Ritchie said.
Both Officer Darkow and Officer Williams have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Darkow has been with the department since 1997 and WIliams since 2005.
What do you think about the Beavercreek Walmart shooting?
[Images Via: WHO and The Daily Caller]