911 Caller Now Says Police Shooting Victim Never Aimed Toy Weapon

Less than a month ago I posted about a police shooting victim at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio. Allegedly he was pointing a firearm at people, but some insisted that he was merely carrying an airgun that Walmart sells.

john crawford

The person who originally called 911 in Walmart and reported that a man was aiming a gun at bystanders made different statements to the Guardian.

When Ronald Ritchie called 911 from the aisles of a Walmart in western Ohio last month to report that a black man was “walking around with a gun in the store”, he said that shoppers were coming under direct threat.

“He’s, like, pointing it at people,” Ritchie told the dispatcher. Later that evening, after John Crawford III had been shot dead by one of the police officers who hurried to the scene in Beavercreek, Ritchie repeated to reporters: “He was pointing at people. Children walking by.”

One month later, Ritchie puts it differently. “At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old said, in an interview with the Guardian. He maintained that Crawford was “waving it around”, which attorneys for Crawford’s family deny.

Ritchie told several reporters after the 5 August shooting that he was an “ex-marine”. When confronted with his seven-week service record, however, he confirmed that he had been quickly thrown out of the US marine corps in 2008 after being declared a “fraudulent enlistment”, over what he maintains was simply a mixup over his paperwork.

Crawford, 22, turned out to be holding an unloaded BB air rifle that he had picked up from a store shelf. After Ritchie said Crawford appeared to be “trying to load” the gun, the 911 dispatcher relayed to an officer that it was believed the gunman “just put some bullets inside”.

Weirdly, the Crawford family attorney claims that the police showed Ritchie the video footage of the event. That is going to call his testimony into question from now on because he now has data that might taint his recollection of what happened.

The Ohio attorney general refuses to release the video until after a grand jury has come to a decision. How a witness got to see the footage is a mystery. They did show it to the lawyer and family members, and they claim the video does not show any gun waving. They believe it shows a young man getting mowed down while he was on the phone with his wife.

The family attorney has requested a civil rights investigation. But I haven’t seen much media attention given to this case.