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Posted: 11:27 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014

Family, friends attend Walmart shooting funeral

By Chelsey Levingston

Staff Writer

CINCINNATI —

Family and relatives of John Crawford III laid him to rest Saturday with more questions than answers about how he died in a shooting at a Beavercreek Walmart.

There was a “lot of pain” at the Inspirational Baptist Church in Forest Park, said Crawford’s aunt Sharon Brown.

“We just want to know who’s responsible,” Brown said. “Why did it have to happen to a person that walked into Walmart to go shopping for cookout food?”

She questioned the “policies that are in place in the Walmart stores with regards to having guns out where a person can just pick it up regardless of if it’s a toy or not.”

“He turned 22 the week before,” she said. “He shouldn’t be gone just for walking into a Walmart.”

One of the biggest questions the family still has is about the store’s surveillance video, she said.

“We haven’t seen the video,” she told this news outlet, which was the only news media at the funeral.

Crawford, of Fairfield, died the night of Tuesday, Aug. 5, after he was shot twice by Beavercreek police officers at a Walmart on Pentagon Boulevard.

“He’s my nephew. He’s just John. He loved his kids,” Brown said.

A witness called 911 and said Crawford was waving a rifle in store, including around children, before police officers were summoned.

Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers said Crawford was shot after he failed to comply with police commands.

Crawford’s friends and relatives said they believe it was a toy gun from the store.

LeeCee Johnson, of Fairfield, said she’s the mother of Crawford’s two children and that she was on the phone with Crawford when the incident occurred. She said she heard Crawford say “it’s not real” and officers start shooting and then yell at Crawford to get down.

During the incident, customer Angela D. Williams, 37, of Fairborn, suffered a medical emergency while exiting Walmart and died a short time later at Beavercreek’s Soin Medical Center. Williams’ co-workers at Villa Springfield nursing home said Williams was going to get married last Saturday, Aug. 9.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is leading an investigation into the case. Attorney General Mike DeWine said Crawford was shot while carrying in the store a MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle, manufactured by Crosman. It is known as a “variable pump air rifle.”

Staff Writers Mark Gokavi and Eric Robinette contributed to this report

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