Beavercreek Walmart shooting case: As it happened

Published: Friday, August 08, 2014 @ 8:34 AM
Updated: Friday, August 08, 2014 @ 8:34 AM

            Wednesday, August 6th, 2014: The scene a day after a shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart that left a 21-year-old man dead.
            Mike Campbell / WHIO-TV
Wednesday, August 6th, 2014: The scene a day after a shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart that left a 21-year-old man dead.(Mike Campbell / WHIO-TV)




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1:07 p.m.: AG releases gun info

Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced new details about a Beavercreek officer-involved shooting that left one man dead.

 The Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) has been asked by the Beavercreek Police Department to investigate the incident.

BCI Investigators on the case report witnesses say the man was carrying a weapon Tuesday night inside a Beavercreek store.

The weapon was an MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle, manufactured by Crosman.  It is known as a “variable pump air rifle.”


UPDATE:12:10 p.m.: Funeral for Williams announced

Viewing and memorial service for Angela Williams is Monday from 5-8 p.m. at the Belton-Stroup Funeral Home on Dayton Yellow Springs Road in Fairborn. Funeral will be Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the same place.

Williams died after collapsing during the shooting incident inside the Beavercreek Walmart.



UPDATE: 11:58 a.m.: Crawford's friend speaks out about shooting

Bobbie Odneal of Cincinnati had known John Crawford for seven years. He saw his friend just hours before he died on Thursday.

“That’s my best friend. He was just literally at my house … the only thing I have of him is his hoodie. I just gave him his ID, and I’m waking up hearing his dead.”

Odneal very much wants to see video of the Wal-Mart shooting so he can see what happened, because he can’t believe Crawford would be in a confrontation with police. He’s suspicious that video has not been released yet, because he had another friend, Darnell Johnson, who was killed by the Cincinnati police only this past Monday. The video of that incident was released right away, he said.

“This is unreal, why they ain’t showing this video. I just want someone to back this up.” Odneal said. He can understand what happened with Johnson because the video shows he ran from the police.

He said Crawford was originally from Cincinnati and was living with his mother at an apartment in Fairfield. He was originally from the Fairmount area. 

“I knew his cousins, and then I met him, and we’ve just been boys ever since. We never stopped chilling with each other.  Whatever he’s got, I’ve got, and whatever I’ve got, he’s got. We’re close like that. He’s my bro.”

Crawford had slept at Odneal’s residence on Tuesday, the day of the shooting.

“That’s  all I’ve got of him. That’s all I’ve got of him is him waking up about to go home. That’s it. And the next day they kill him.”


Tuesday through Wednesday night

The Ohio Attorney General’s office is leading an investigation into Tuesday’s night police officer-involved shooting at the Beavercreek Walmart that left one man dead and apparently caused a woman who was running from the scene to collapse and die.

In the hours after the shooting numerous questions remain unanswered, including whether the man shot — 22-year-old John Crawford III of Fairfield — was armed with a real gun when a Beavercreek police officer killed him.

A witness called 911 and said Crawford was waving a rifle in store, including around children, before police officers were summoned. But authorities have not confirmed whether Crawford was armed with a real weapon, and his girlfriend says he was unarmed when she dropped him off at the store minutes before the shooting.

“He did not have any type of gun on him,” said Tasha Thomas of Fairborn, who said she picked Crawford up at a Cincinnati outlet mall and drove him to Walmart.

Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Jill Del Greco said BCI would not release information about whether the rifle was real or a toy, citing that it was part of the investigation. She also would not disclose which officer fired the shots that killed Crawford.

Beavercreek police Chief Dennis Evers refused to answer questions during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. 

Instead, Evers read a prepared statement and said that officers Sean Williams and David Darkow likely acted appropriately when one of them shot Crawford. He died shortly after being transported to Dayton’s Miami Valley Hospital.

“The officers gave verbal commands to the subject to drop the weapon,” Evers said. “The subject … was shot after failing to comply with the officers’ commands. The quick response of officers was instrumental in containing this situation and minimizing the risk to customers.”

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 on Saturday.

Evers said Crawford received first-aid from police officers at the scene before Beavercreek Twp. Fire Dept. medics transported him to the hospital.

Evers said he asked Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification to investigate the shooting, and he deferred all questions to the AG’s office.

“We’ve been asked to do this many times,” DeWine said. “We have very good investigators at BCI and what we’ll be trying to determine is exactly what happened. We’re going to interview every witness that we can find.”

Thomas and the mother of Crawford’s two children disputed that Crawford entered the store with any real weapon or that he would have time to comply with officers’ orders to drop one.

A check of the Beavercreek Walmart on Wednesday showed it doesn’t have toy guns in the toy section, but does have real guns in glass cases and realistic-looking BB guns in the sporting goods section, including one BB gun box that was open.

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.

“I could hear him just crying and screaming,” Johnson said. “I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human. First of all, they used a rifle. They could have Tazed him, or … just used the handgun, not something so powerful or forceful like he was an animal or something.”

Thomas said Crawford went into the store to purchase supplies to make s’mores.

One 911 call released by Beavercreek police was from Ronald Ritchie of Riverside, who was inside Walmart. He told dispatchers at 8:21 p.m. Tuesday that he saw a man “walking around with a gun in the store.”

Ritchie, an ex-Marine, said the man was pointing a black rifle at people near the pet section and that “he’s loading it right now.” Later, he said, “He looked like he was trying to load it, I don’t know.” He then added, “He just pointed it at two children.”

Later, a person on the call can be heard yelling that he’d been shot.

Ritchie’s wife, April, told this newspaper on Wednesday that Crawford was on his cell phone and that people looked at him with disbelief as he held the rifle. The Ritchies said that some scurried in different directions and that three people went into a stock room.

April Ritchie said Crawford held his phone between his left ear and shoulder while moving the rifle around. “He just kept messing with it and I heard it clicking,” she said

Crawford was in the pets department when the police arrived, Ronald Ritchie said.

“We moved up to get a closer view, which is not a good idea, but it happened,” he said. “We were hiding behind an aisle.

After police arrived, April Ritchie said she heard officers warn Crawford. “I heard, put it down, put it down,” she said. “I heard two shots after I saw him turn. He still had the weapon in his hand.”

The Ritchies said the man with the rifle fell backwards when he was struck by the gunshots. But, he got back up and went towards the officer who shot him. That officer then tackled the man with the rifle to the ground.

“He looked like he was going to go violently,” Ronald Ritchie said. “If he would have dropped the weapon, he could have came out with his life. But, unfortunately, he didn’t.”

Darkow has been with Beavercreek police since July 18, 1997 while Williams has been with the department since March 4, 2005. Both are on paid administrative leave. “Preliminary indications are the officers acted appropriately under the circumstances,” Evers said.

Williams shot and killed a suspect in 2010 in what was found to be a legitimate use of force when a man charged Williams with a knife.

“We are deeply saddened about the loss of life (Tuesday) night and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of everyone involved,” said Walmart national spokesman Brian Nick, adding that Walmart’s policies on guns in stores match the local and state laws in each location. “We are still learning information about the events surrounding this tragedy and assisting police in their ongoing investigation.”

The state now leads the investigation.

“BCI is going to look at the entire situation and look at what happened and what led up to the incident and how the officers responded,” Del Greco said. “We will not make determination if the shooting was justified or not.”

Instead, Del Greco said a report would be given to the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, which may present the findings to a grand jury to determine if the officers acted properly or criminally. Del Greco said Crawford’s toxicology results may take weeks and the investigation may take several months.

Fairborn’s Trenton Story entered the Walmart store just before 11 a.m. Wednesday when police tape was removed and said the mood inside was surreal.

“It’s sad that this person was shot, but at the end of the day, the police officer has a duty to protect the people of the community and protect themselves,” Story said. “Some people may say maybe the police officer shouldn’t have done that, but for those people who weren’t there at that very moment, you can’t make that determination.”

Beavercreek police are asking anyone with information or who may have witnessed the events leading up to the incident to contact Capt. Eric Grile at 937-426-1225.

-- Mark Gokavi and Andy Sedlak, Jessica Heffner, Kelli Wynn and Eric Robinette.

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WATCH: Huber Heights pool-goers run as winds whip up dust devil

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 3:56 PM

Meteorologist Jesse Maag goes over a whirlwind that popped up Huber Heights and discusses how it was formed.

If the conditions are just right on a hot summer day, you might just come across a whirlwind like the pool-goers at the Kroger Aquatic Center in Huber Heights did Saturday.

What’s urban heat island effect and how is it impacting downtown Dayton?

A whirlwind, also known as a dust devil, is a relatively small, rotating column of air initially formed from calm winds, plenty of sun, and generally dry conditions, according to News Center 7 Meteorologist Jesse Maag.

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Crystal Hagans told us an umbrella flew over her head during the whirlwind at the Kroger Aquatic Center located at 8625 Brandt Pike . Hagans said clothes, shoes and lounge chairs were picked up by the whirlwind as well.

Lifeguards were able to get everyone out of the pool and take shelter, Hagans said. They checked to make sure no one had been hurt.

“For me, it was exciting but I was surprised when it happened,” said Hagans.

The birth of a whirlwind starts with sunshine heating the ground which then heats the air immediately above it. This process is known as conduction. Once the air just above the ground is heated, it rapidly rises into the relatively cooler air above.

As it rises it creates what is called an updraft. The updraft quickly transports air from the surface several meters into the air, Maag said.

Mercury and Venus visible near the moon this weekend 

After the updraft takes places, air from all around the base of whirlwind rushes in to fill the void left by the air previously located there. Since the air rushing towards the center of the whirlwind is also hot, it meets at the center and continues to feed the updraft.

This cycle continues until heat is lost at the surface or the overall calm surface conditions are compromised. Whirlwinds are generally harmless to adults, but on rare occasions they have been known to knock people off of their feet. It’s best for small children to steer clear of these.

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Sidney man found guilty in fatal Amish buggy crash in Shelby Co.

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 12:27 PM

Steven Eugene Hunter (Shelby County Jail)
Steven Eugene Hunter (Shelby County Jail)

A Sidney man who struck an Amish buggy from behind, killing a woman and injuring three other family members, has been found guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Amish buggy crashes like Friday’s fatal incident not uncommon in Ohio, data show

The crash happened on State Route 47 at the Shelby-Logan County Line April 20. 

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On Friday in Shelby County Common Pleas Court, Steven Hunter, 43, entered a plea of no contest to the charge.

SUV hits buggy: Woman killed, husband, 2 infants critical; driver jailed in Shelby Co.

Killed in that crash was Sarah Schwartz, 23. Her husband, Henry, son, Elmer, and daughter Ester were critically injured but survived. All four were ejected from the buggy.

Man found guilty in fatal Ohio Amish buggy crash

Shelby County Prosecutor Tim Sell said Hunter was drunk and high on marijuana when he drove his SUV into the buggy in April.

Hunter had no license after a previous DUI conviction. He fled the scene but was later caught about a mile away.

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Woman in ICU after struck by vehicle in Kettering

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 10:42 AM
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 4:12 PM

A 41-year-old woman is in ICU after she was struck by a vehicle in Kettering Saturday morning.

Car crashes into building while owner was inside working in Kettering

Kettering dispatchers confirmed a man struck the female with his vehicle on West Stroop Road near Stoneridge Road around 2:40 a.m.

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Police were able to locate the man who reportedly thought he had hit a deer using intersection cameras, according to Kettering Police Department Sgt. Larry Warren. He pulled over “down the street” to check his vehicle in a parking lot for damage, dispatchers told us.

The man was reported “very upset” when police told the man he had actually hit a woman instead of a deer. 

Warren said the area where the woman was struck was very dark and wooded. He said police do not know why she was crossing the street there. There was no crosswalk.

Warren describes the woman as being in “very bad shape” after the accident and remains in Kettering Medical Center.

The driver of the vehicle does not face criminal charges, Warren said.

Police are not releasing the identity of the woman at this time.

We are working to learn more and will update this story as information becomes available.

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Kettering center for drug-withdrawal babies celebrates first year

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 3:27 PM

            Brigid’s Path, the state’s first crisis care nursery for drug-addicted newborns is set to begin treating infants by the end of October. Executive Director Jill Kingston is seen in one of the facility’s 24 private nurseries. Six babies a day were admitted to Ohio hospitals in 2015 for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a consequence of an escalating statewide opioid epidemic. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
            Chris Stewart
Brigid’s Path, the state’s first crisis care nursery for drug-addicted newborns is set to begin treating infants by the end of October. Executive Director Jill Kingston is seen in one of the facility’s 24 private nurseries. Six babies a day were admitted to Ohio hospitals in 2015 for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a consequence of an escalating statewide opioid epidemic. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

Brigid’s Path, a $2 million Kettering facility specializing in the treatment of babies experiencing withdrawal, is preparing to celebrate its one-year anniversary.

MORE: Clergy consider suit over upcoming Good Sam closure

Depending on the opioid used by a mother, a baby’s withdrawal will typically begin within the first 48 hours of life but may stretch to 96 hours, said Dr. Stephen Hunter, a neonatologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital and Brigid’s Path’s medical director.

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MORE: 4 charged in alleged meth-trafficking ring in Greene County

Jill Kingston, the co-founder and executive director of Brigid’s Path, 3601 S. Dixie Dr., said the drug scourge led her to create the organization, which opened last September.

“I was a stay-at-home mom, but I felt a calling to something more,” she said, adding that she was working in foster care when the opioid epidemic increased.

But when Brigid’s Path opened last September, it had an immediate impact on the situation, she said.

MORE: Coroner IDs remains found in Kettering home, believes man died in 2007

“September to December was really hiring nurses, training and licensing. Getting everything set-up to be ready to treat babies,” she said. “And then on Dec. 29 our first baby arrived and we’ve been treating babies since that time. Our outcomes have been amazing.”

She added, “we are right at 20 babies and we are seeing that the average length of stay is about one month. It depends where their family is and what needs to be done by the family to get them home. Some babies have stayed as long as three months.”

Kingston explained that when a mother is using any kind of opiate while pregnant, the baby is born and goes through withdrawal.

“So, we never say that the baby is addicted. But, sometimes the baby is born dependent because of that drug supply being cut off at birth and they go through very difficult times where you might see them shake and tremor,” she said. “They sweat more and have feeding problems breathing problems just special needs they have to go through.”

The non-profit has several goals in place in terms of how to help mothers and their babies, which they’ve been able to meet.

MORE: Montgomery County targeted for fentanyl crackdown

“We’ve been able to keep all of our babies out of foster care, which was one of our goals,” Kingston said. “We wanted to keep moms and babies together by wrapping around mom and supporting her so she can do well in recovery as well as getting the housing and everything in place, so she is stable and well. Not all babies are able to go home right away, but they have been able to go home with family members or safe families, so it has been amazing since we have opened.”

Calling the organization a “collaborative effort” involving citizens, businesses and many private donors, Kingston said it has been heartwarming to see so many entities pitch in to make it work.

“Kettering Health Network has donated an electronic medical records system, and the Premier Health System provided a two-year, $75,000 grant,” she said. “Then Children’s Hospital has donated our clinical director to us for her time as well as partnering with to lease our nurses. They also let us use their transport team, so when a baby transported from any hospital in the area they bring the baby here. We also use their pharmacy for medication for our babies.”

Costs at Brigid’s Path are not reimbursed by Medicaid, but Kingston said she and otgers are working on changing that.

“We do need Medicaid and we are working on that at the federal and state level,” she said. “We cannot right now because we are a newborn recovery center and that does not exist in the Social Security Act as something that can receive funding. We are going to start working with the child welfare system to see about funding. But right now everything is just donations from individuals and foundations.”

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