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UPDATE: Walmart sticks to policy on air guns

Published: Tuesday, August 05, 2014 @ 8:48 PM
Updated: Friday, August 08, 2014 @ 8:56 PM



UPDATE: 8:36 p.m.: Company won't alter policy, helping in investigation

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Walmart plans no immediate changes in the sale or display of realistic-looking air guns in the wake of the shooting at its Beavercreek store. Friday, company officials said they are working with law enforcement to reconstruct the incident using video footage captured during the incident.

Brian Nick, a Walmart spokesman at the company’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters, left open the possibility the company could change its policies depending on the results of the investigation now underway by the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

According to the attorney general's office, John Crawford III was carrying an MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle when he was shot. Manufactured by Crosman, it is known as a “variable pump air rifle.” Online ads show a retail price of about $100.

“There are no plans to change anything on how we sell products at this time, but we will constantly evaluate that,” Nick said. “The sale of these products is under different rules in states in different parts of the country, and we follow the rules as it pertains to sale of products and comply with state and federal regulation of these products.”

Nick noted: “We are deeply saddened about the loss of life that occurred this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones involved.”

Dayton attorney Michael Wright, retained by Crawford’s family, said arrangements are being made for a funeral in Cincinnati on Aug. 16. He noted that he is planning a news conference at his office this coming Monday.

“The family wants answers,” Wright said. “We just want to get answers. We are seeking video, witness statements and investigatory items. My job is to get answers to his family.”

Jill Del Greco, spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, said the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Investigation has received in-store video footage from around the immediate area of the shooting, but the agency has asked  Walmart to provide footage from all of its roughly 120 store cameras.


UPDATE: 12:32 p.m.: Crawford's cause of death released

 The 22-year-old man shot by police at Beavercreek’s Walmart on Tuesday night died of a gunshot wound to the torso, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Friday.

 John Crawford III’s manner of death was listed as homicide, which means that the death was caused by another person. The term does not describe whether or not a killing was justified. Crawford’s time of death was listed as 9:23 p.m. at Miami Valley Hospital.

 A coroner’s office spokeswoman said Crawford’s full autopsy will take several weeks to complete.

Crawford was shot after police said he did not drop an air rifle when instructed to do so by Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow.

Investigation could take months

 The state investigation into the shooting death of a 22-year-old man killed by police at a Beavercreek Walmart could take months to complete and will include a review of eyewitness accounts, video and audio recordings and toxicology results.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Thursday that at the request of Beavercreek police, agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation are working the case to determine any potential criminal misconduct.

DeWine said John Crawford III, 22, 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.”

The results of the investigation will be forwarded to the Greene County prosecutor, who would decide whether to present the case to a grand jury.

“It’s not unusual for us to be asked by the police department or the sheriff involved to come in and do an independent investigation,” DeWine said. “They don’t feel they should be investigating themselves and want an impartial investigation.”

High-profile local police shootings that BCI has investigated include last year’s shooting death of 42-year-old Paul E. Schenck, a Yellow Springs resident who had a history of stockpiling guns and violent encounters with police. He fired 100 times at police in that incident.

After the BCI probe, Maj. Eric Spicer, a Greene County Sheriff’s Office deputy, was terminated. Another deputy who fired the fatal shot that killed Schenck, James Hughes, was cleared by a grand jury who determined the use of force appropriate.

BCI, however, said Spicer led law enforcement officers to the wrong home, located three houses south of Schenck’s residence.

Earlier this year, a Miami County grand jury cleared three Troy police officers and a county sheriff’s deputy in a Dec. 29 shootout that left Franklin Jones III, 30, of Troy, dead.

The grand jury reviewed results of a BCI investigation. Police responding to the shots fired found one man with a gunshot wound to the buttocks and a short time later encountered Jones in a nearby alley. A gun battle followed in which Jones was killed. County Prosecutor Tony Kendell called the death “suicide by cop.”

-- Staff Writers Steve Bennish, Mark Gokavi and Laura Bischoff