DeWine, family's attorney respond to Walmart shooting

Published: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 @ 8:28 AM
Updated: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 @ 1:20 PM


            The family of John Crawford III who was shot and killed at the Walmart store in Beavercreek is asking for Ohio Attorney Gen. Mike DeWine to turn the investigaiton over the to Dept. of Justice.
The family of John Crawford III who was shot and killed at the Walmart store in Beavercreek is asking for Ohio Attorney Gen. Mike DeWine to turn the investigaiton over the to Dept. of Justice.

UPDATE at Noon: After the press conference, Richard Schulte, one of the Crawford family attorneys, said that LeeCee Johnson was with Crawford's parents the night of the shooting and was on the phone with him when officers shot him. Schulte said Johnson put the call on speaker, and the parents listened as their son was dying.

Johnson is the mother of Crawford's two children.

UPDATE at 11:44 a.m.: The attorney for the family of John Crawford III has finished speaking.

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He said: "From what we've seen, John had no opportunity to put the gun down."

UPDATE at 11:30 a.m.: The attorney for the family of John Crawford III is now speaking to the media.

Attorney Michael Wright said: "We need Mike DeWine to refer this case to the Department of Justice. Not to a special prosecutor."

Wright said Crawford did nothing wrong in Walmart. "Nothing more, nothing less than shopping."

Wright, who has seen store surveillance video of the shooting incident, said Crawford was shot while talking on the phone, holding the butt of the gun with the barrel pointed at the floor.

He said Crawford was "shot on sight" in a "militaristic" response.

UPDATE at 11:05 a.m.: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's news conference has just ended. The attorney for the family of John Crawford III is set to begin a news conference any moment.


UPDATE at 10:55 a.m.: The lead prosecutor in the police shooting that sparked race riots in Cincinnati in 2001 will present to a grand jury the details of the shooting this year of John Crawford in a Beavercreek Walmart, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today.

He said the grand jury will convene on the case on Sept. 22, later than originally planned.

DeWine said Mark Piepmeier, assistant Hamilton County prosecutor, has handled more than 100 officer-involved shooting cases in his long career,

"In some cases, the grand jury has indicted the officer, and in some cases it has not," DeWine said.

Speaking in the Greene County courtroom where the grand jury will meet Sept. 22 to review the shooting of John Crawford, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine listed the evidence his officer has assembled.

This has included working with the FBI to create a "video summarization," linking the more than 200 cameras in Walmart with audio from 911 calls to create a timeline of the shooting.

"The vast majority of it is covered," he said. "This would allow people viewing this to see it from the moment people came into the store all the way to the shooting incident."

The 2001 race riots in Cincinnati were sparked by the shooting of unarmed 19-year-old Timothy Thomas. Piepmeier oversaw the grand jury investigation that returned a charge of negligent homicide against officer Stephen Roach. Roach was later acquitted.

Piepmeier was also involved in investigating the Lucasville prison riots that resulted in 50 indictments.

In announcing that he will oversee the grand jury case of the shooting of John Crawford, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine listed three other cases he investigated that resulted in charges being brought against law enforcement officers.

"Mr. Piepmeier is fair, he is impartial, he calls it like he sees it. He will have total independence in this case."

UPDATE at 10:53 a.m.: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says he is not sorry he showed the family of John Crawford III a portion of the video surveillance from the shooting.

DeWine said it was "the right thing to do."

UPDATE at 10:44 a.m.: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's press conference is happening now.

DeWine said Mark Piepmeier of Hamilton County will be assigned as special prosecutor to the case.

EARLIER: Two news conferences will be held today to address the fatal officer-involved shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart.

John Crawford III was shot while holding a BB/pellet air rifle he picked up in the Walmart store on Aug. 5. A Riverside couple called 911 and said that Crawford was "waving it around" and "pointing it at people." Beavercreek police responded, and shot and killed Crawford.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen K. Haller will hold a press conference at 10:30 a.m. in Xenia, according to their announcement.

The attorney for Crawford's family will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. today in Dayton.

The attorney, Michael Wright, said he will address questions about the video footage from the Walmart store that the family was able to view. That footage covered about five minutes and their news release says it showed Crawford holding the BB gun like a cane, and being shot "on sight, without any warning," according to his announcement.

You can watch the news conferences live here on WHIO.com beginning at 10:30 a.m.