Toy Gun May Have Led to Police Killing Man in Store

toy gun A young man has been shot and killed reportedly because he was playing with a toy gun at Walmart and customers mistook it as real. Twenty-two-year-old John Crawford was at Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio. He was allegedly on his cellphone with LeeCee Johnson, the mother of Crawford's two children, while in the toy section of the store.

Johnson said they were talking about video games and toys, and then she heard him say, "It's not real," presumably the toy gun in question. She heard the police say, "Get on the ground" and shots rang out. Next she heard Crawford screaming and crying. He was dying.

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There are some reports saying that Crawford waved a toy rifle at customers. One witness reportedly told police, "There is a gentleman walking around with a gun in the store. ... He's, like, pointing it at people." But Crawford's girlfriend Tasha Thomas insisted that he was unarmed -- that it had to be a toy gun from the section he was in. Thomas was in another aisle when the incident occurred.

Initial reports from the Beavercreek Police and Ohio Attorney General’s Office have said that they believe the responding officers acted properly.

A 37-year-old woman, Angela Williams, also died as a result of this incident. As you can imagine, when the shots rang out in the store and the evacuation began, there was panic. Williams suffered "a medical problem" during that time and died.

There is so much sadness involving this story. Two people are dead -- two people who should not have died that day. I cannot help but feel that the police were in the wrong. I wasn't there. I don't know the whole story. But how did they not know this was a toy gun (as the story alleged). How can anyone think open carry is okay when people see a gun (in this case a toy gun) and freak out? People get nervous when they see a gun -- as they should because of all the mass shootings that happen -- but this man (if he really only was 'playing' with a toy gun) shouldn't have been killed. There are a lot of questions here. Why did the police act so violently? Why did they shoot to kill? Why is it okay to sell toy guns, but if a young man is seen carrying one, he can be killed?

I don't know the answers here. But I do know that this shouldn't have happened. My thoughts are with Crawford's family and the Williams family.

What do you think?

 

Image via Jon Jordan/Flickr

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