It has been 21 years since Ernest Crawford Jr., 30, was gunned down in the driveway of his mother's home just three days before Christmas, and the case remains an unsolved murder, according to the Buffalo News.
On December 21, 1995, Crawford – who had moved to New York City after finding a job as a music producer – had just arrived at his hometown in Glenwood, Crawford for the holidays with his wife, Etsuko, and their three children ages 5, 2, and 1.
Crawford and his family were staying at his mother's house and were anxious to see his relatives who were flying in from different states.
At around 12:40 a.m. the following day, Crawford made plans to see his cousin – who he hadn't seen in four years - and went outside to start his mother's car.
However, that reunion never happened. Crawford was gunned down in his mother's driveway.After being shot twice in the face, he collapsed and died before being able to spend Christmas day with his family.
An unnamed witness told investigators that they saw "two young men running away into the night," but two decades have passed since the fatal shooting and no one has been arrested for his murder.
Mary Evans, who is a detective in the murder case, stated earlier this month that "no motive for this crime has ever been found. To this date, we've never found anything that indicates this man was targeted for any reason. He had just arrived from out of town with his wife and kids."
Buffalo police officials stated that there was no evidence indicating there was someone in the area wanting to kill Crawford.
After the fatal shooting, police uncovered that he was not robbed or anything else, leading police to believe that this incident may have been a case of mistaken identity.
"We had three very similar incidents, apparently with the same two suspects involved, over a span of 23 minutes," said the Homicide Bureau Chief Charles T. Fieramusca Jr.
"From all appearances, we had a couple of idiots out on the East Side, shooting at people for no reason. When there's some reason behind a shooting – like robbery, drugs, or revenge – that's bad enough."Evans added that "random shootings do occur, but they are exceedingly rare. Based on the shootings we've had in Buffalo over the past two or three years, the majority, if not all, of the victims have either been specifically targeted, or they were innocent bystanders who were hit by a shooter who was trying to hit someone else."
"But when you have two kids out shooting at people, just to see what happens, that really concerns me."
Philadelphia police lieutenant who is also a longtime friend of the Crawford family, Benjamin Frazier, said, "Somebody out there knows what happened. I envision someone in Buffalo who might read about this in the newspaper. They might be sitting in their living room, wrapping Christmas presents for their own family."
"They might say to themselves, 'This guy was shot, three little kids lost their father, and I knew what happened and didn't tell anyone about it.' It's not too late for that person to come forward. I think it would help this family greatly to find out the truth."Crawford's children are all adults now and have no memories of him. His son, Kalif Crawford, 23, said, "All I know about him is how he looks in pictures and stories told to me by my grandmother and other loved ones."
He went on to say that he has "dealt with difficult emotions – the same problems faced by other people who never knew their fathers."
Crawford's wife, children, and other relatives still want justice.
Anyone with information regarding the murder of the Buffalo unsolved murder case, you are urged to contact the Cold Case line at 851-4511.
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