The fatal shooting in an Ohio Walmart of John Crawford III came in response to a 911 call from 24-year-old Ronald Ritchie, who told the 911 dispatcher that a black man in a black shirt was loading a rifle, waving it at customers and pointing it at children. But when audio of the 911 call is synced with Walmart security video of the shooting, it raises significant questions about what Ritchie told the 911 operator.
The video and audio were matched up by the FBI and can be viewed in unison above. Be warned: the video depicts the fatal shooting of Crawford by police as well as the incident’s aftermath and could prove highly upsetting to some viewers.
Throughout most of the video, Crawford can be seen standing in what Ritchie describes as the pet supply aisle of the Beavercreek Walmart store, talking on a cell phone. Though Ritchie describes Crawford as carrying a rifle, which was actually a BB gun, and waving it around, the video shows little that could lead to Ritchie’s interpretation of Crawford’s actions.
At one particularly striking moment, occurring at about the 4:25 mark in the synced video, Ritchie is heard to tell the 911 operator, “He just pointed it at, like, two children.”
But at that moment, Crawford can be clearly seen with the rifle at his side, ignoring the only other Walmart customers in the aisle. The other customers at the opposite end if the aisle from Crawford appear to be a woman, a boy who could be a teenager and one younger girl.
But Crawford can not be seen “pointing” the BB gun in their direction at any point. In fact, from his mannerisms on the video, he seems as if he fails to notice the customers at all as he continues to conduct his cell phone conversation.
Any warnings issued by police officers David Darkow and the officer who actually shot Crawford in the Walmart, Sean Williams, are not audible on the recording. But Williams told investigators later that Crawford made an aggressive move toward the officers, causing Williams to believe his life and that of his partner were in danger.
In a written statement to police, Ronald Ritchie said that the officers yelled, “put it down, put it down,” at which point Crawford “turned and pointed the rifle at the officer.”
But nowhere in the video is Crawford seen pointing the BB gun at a police officer or anyone. The alleged “aggressive” move by Crawford toward the officers is also difficult to detect.
Crawford was speaking on the phone in the Walmert to LeeCee Johnson, the woman who is the mother of Crawford’s two children. She later described hearing Crawford tell officers, “it’s not real,” immediately before the shooting began. A grand jury last week decided that the officers would not be indicted in the Walmart shooting death of John Crawford III.