On Tuesday night, 22-year-old John Crawford was shot dead by police at a Beavercreek, Ohio, Walmart.
He was allegedly killed for playing with a toy gun while in the store, after emergency dispatchers received a 911 call about someone waving a “rifle-like weapon” at customers in the store.
Family members have contacted civil rights organizations, including the NAACP and National Action Network, because they believe that police opened fire without justification.
The mother of Crawford’s two children, LeeCee Johnson, said the two of them were on the phone together when he was gunned down.
“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,” Johnson explained to the Dayton Daily News. “And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”
Johnson just found out she was pregnant with their third child, but she never got the opportunity to tell Crawford before he died.
While the Beavercreek Police and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office refused to initially provide any information on whether he was armed with a toy or an actual weapon, it was later discovered that Crawford was carrying an MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle. It wasn’t exactly a “toy” gun, but it wasn’t a real one, either.
“The response of the officers was instrumental in containing the situation, minimizing the risk to customers,” Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers said.
How real do fake guns look to everyday people?
In the video below, Johnson goes into detail about her feelings regarding the tragic incident.