FAIRFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) 2 NEWS reached out to the family of John Crawford II, the suspect in an officer-involved shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart on Pentagon Boulevard.
Crawford, of the 40th block of Ridegeview Street, died Tuesday from gun shot wounds when officers shot the man, who they say was carrying a weapon, a rifle, inside the store.
2 NEWS was first to speak with his loved ones about the shooting.
The mother of his children, a 4-month-old and a 1-year-old, spoke out.
Leecee Johnson told 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé that she was on the phone with Crawford, when the shooting unfolded.
“He said it wasn’t real and I was trying to figure out what was he saying wasn’t real and then I heard later on that it was a gun that was in Walmart the little play station where the Walmart guns are at,” Johnson recounted.
Johnson also noted that she remained on the phone for nearly an hour, listening to officers describe Crawford’s wounds and trying to turn him over.
2 NEWS asked if Crawford told her what he was doing at the Walmart to which the visibly shaken woman said, “He was probably going to just– he was just looking at it because earlier when I was talking to him, before he went over in the gun section, he was over there playing video games and they could at least just see if it was real.”
The mother of Crawford’s newborn said that she’s still in shock at how the event unfolded, given what she says transpired on the call.
“They just came in with their rifle and they just shot him and they didn’t give him a chance. If they just would have listened to him and see he would have told them it wasn’t real cause that’s what he yelled out,” she said.
2 NEWS also spoke with Crawford’s cousin, Lamon Brown, who asked “Is a rifle-like weapon a gun that– some kind of a rifle. A real gun or is it a toy gun, that’s basically it?”
These unanswered questions have prompted Crawford’s family to claim that the incidents that unfolded are due to racial discrimination.
“…when his mom and dad went out there to see him in the hospital and they was around the areas at Walmart it wasn’t not one black person there just him and so we feel like this thing was racism,” said the mother of Crawford’s two sons.
Family now are calling upon the Beavercreek Police Department for justice.
Those that spoke with 2 NEWS say a good man was shot and killed.
“He was a family man. He was a good provider, at least he tried to be there for his children and he was just an all around good person and he didn’t deserve this to happen to him,” the woman told 2 NEWS.
Crawford’s immediate family plan to pursue the matter with a lawyer; in the meantime, they are mourning the loss of their loved and have asked for their privacy.