Police Abuse

Police Shoot Man Holding Fake Gun—Near Fake Gun Aisle In Walmart

Media reports are now suggesting that the weapon was actually a fake: an airsoft rifle.

|

Airsoft gun
Broken Sphere / Wikimedia Commons

Police shot and killed a 22-year-old man inside a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio. Other customers called the police after spotting the man, John Crawford, carrying what they believed to be a weapon.

However, Crawford's girlfriend—who dropped him off at the store moments before the shooting—claims he wasn't carrying a gun and didn't even own one. Media reports are now suggesting that the weapon was actually a fake: an airsoft rifle a pellet gun,* which was sold in the sporting goods section of that very same Walmart.

Crawford was on the phone with LeeCee Johnson, the mother of his two children, when he was shot. Johnson told the Dayton Daily News that Crawford identified his fake gun to the police just before they fired at him:

"We was just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were. And the next thing I know, he said 'It's not real,' and the police start shooting and they said 'Get on the ground,' but he was already on the ground because they had shot him," she said, adding: "And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human."

Eyewitnesses said Crawford pointed the weapon at people—including children—while he was on the phone, and no one could tell the difference. According to WHIO:

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."

(Astonishingly, Crawford was not the only person to die in the Walmart that day. A 37-year-old woman, Angela Williams, suffered some kind of medical episode as she was exiting the store during the shooting. She apparently had a pre-existing medical condition, and died after being transported to the hospital.)

Beavercreek has turned the case over to the state Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation. We'll see what comes of that.

*Update: I originally identified the weapon as an airsoft gun. It appears that it is actually an air/pellet rifle called an MK-177. Compared to an airsoft gun, the MK-177 fires significantly more desructive pellets that are capable of breaking the skin and harming someone. Hopefully the investigation will definitively establish whether Crawford was actually pointing it at people in a threatening way.

Advertisement

NEXT: Fighting Resumes In Gaza

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Doesn’t sound like there was a lot of time between the warning and the shooting, but it’s hard to tell from the description of events. Walmarts have cameras everywhere, so if they cough up footage, we should get a better handle on how this actually went down.

    1. Remember that many people join the force in hopes that they can have the opportunity to kill someone. So in cases like this they get all excited because now they’ve got their chance, and the warning is only a formality. Because they decided to kill the person before they drew their weapon.

      1. “I then fired several warning shots into his back.”

      2. Your point is asinine. If the police had waited and Mr. Crawford shot a bunch of people in the meantime, you would be bitching that the cops let him execute innocent by-standers. The officers were presented with a very real threat to the public and very little time to contemplate available action and made a choice. It sucks as a choice even if the rifle was a real one let alone a fake. This incident will be thoroughly investigated by a separate police agency who will present all of the findings to a state prosecutor who will present it typically to a Grand Jury made up of Citizens who will determine if the cops that shot Crawford acted criminally. Even after that, the cops and the supervision chain will be subject to possibly years of uncertainty by a law suit from Crawford’s estate or some affected witness. Your statement that cops want their job so they can go out and kill someone is without merit. You should watch some different movies.

        1. Here in reality, the cops will be given paid vacation, the town will be sued, resulting only in an insurance hike, and an inquiry board will find the cops innocent, and nothing will happen. Except of course this man’s kids won’t have a dad.

          1. The reality is there is no such thing as a vacation or anything like it after being forced by a tactical situation or circumstance to kill someone. The officers may indeed be found to have acted lawfully. Even if their actions were not criminal, the officers, their supervisors, and yes, the deep pockets municipality will likely be sued. The municipality will try to distance itself from the officers if possible. It is unlikely they can do so if the shooting was deemed lawful by the inquiry process.

            1. The entire problem is qualified immunity for officers and collective amends from tax payers. All we have to do is apply the same laws to cops that non-cops must follow. There’s something logical and moral about consistency, no?

        2. Your statement that cops want their job so they can go out and kill someone is without merit.

          It’s based upon overhearing cops talk amongst themselves on more than one occasion. They said choking people was the best part of the job, and not yet having an opportunity to shoot someone was the worst.

          1. Screwballs and the insane exist at every level of our society, including law enforcement. Bullshit talk like you describe, if you actually heard anything like it, is sarcastic dark humor at best. These exaggerations are examples of nothing more than chest thumping when one cop tells another what he would like to do to the person who slit the little girl’s throat and dumped her in a trash can like common refuse.

            1. When you have your favorite cop’s balls in your moth, thoreau, are they salty or chocolate?
              Cops came to my place one time to chase off some degenerate. When they found I’d already made him go away, the bald-headed, steroid-monkey cop expressed dismay and said, “it’s too bad. You could have watched him piss himself after we pepper=sprayed him.”
              Cops are assholes. The only bigger assholes are people who suck their dicks.

              1. Are you the self-described bigger asshole? People like you try to be meaningful by spouting ad hominum against other people you know nothing about. Try to stick to the issue at hand and come out of your parent’s basement once in a while.

            2. If it were only “screwballs and the insane” why would they be able to openly talk about it with coworkers?

              “These exaggerations are examples of nothing more than chest thumping when one cop tells another what he would like to do to the person who slit the little girl’s throat and dumped her in a trash can like common refuse.”
              Calling bullshit.

              1. Try and understand what you read first before commenting. The screwballs and insane description means that we as a society have bad people at every level in every profession including law enforcement. Bad behavior is never right. PS: I have personally seen an 8 year old girl who had been raped and her throat cut and thrown in a trash can. The flies and the smell you will not forget. You know nothing about me.

            3. You’re right, we shouldn’t let a few hundred thousand bad apples spoil the bunch.

        3. thoreu|8.8.14 @ 1:11PM|#
          “The officers were presented with a very real threat to the public..”

          They most definitely were NOT.

          Define,”real threat” and include your badge number for credibility.

          William Shakespeare; Your real threat by any other name is just as murderous. I’m paraphrasing.

          1. You obviously have no idea how these incidents unfold. The police officers in question were not out riding around and seeking to execute someone and to say otherwise is just plain ignorant and stupid. People at the Wal-Mart to include at least one Marine called 911 to report a man inside the store pointing a rifle at several other people to include children. They described the man and at least one of the callers told the 911 Dispatcher that the man was clicking the trigger and looked like he was loading the weapon.
            So all the responding officers know is: Male, Wal-Mart, rifle, pointing at people and children, clicking trigger and loading weapon. You know-just like the guy at Sandy Hook school or the Mall in Utah or the movie theater in Colorado or like a hundred other incidents the cops know of. The situation is only known to be urgent because most normal people do not go into Wal-Mart or other stores and point rifles at other people and pull the trigger.
            So a real threat is what a reasonable person would believe to be a threat. The people at Wal-Mart certainly thought the “gunman” was a threat because they called the police. The police given the information they received were reasonable to believe they were responding to a public threat. A fact bolstered immediately by what the responding officers observed-an individual with a rifle in the store they had been sent to, possibly in the act of pointing the rifle at other people or one of the officers themselves.

            1. When the cops arrive, they are directed to the area of the store where the “gunman” was last seen. They probably have their own weapons drawn as their reaction time to a threat is going to be at least ? of a second. This is plenty of time for you to be dead or seriously disabled if you are not prepared. This is not a lot of decision-making time. A rifle fired inside the store could allow the bullet to travel completely across the store unless stopped by an object or a person.
              The officers confront the individual and find that he is in fact in possession of a rifle. They may have even seen him pointing it at other people. We don’t know for sure at this time because the article does not tell us that. The next thing we know is he is shot by the police and dies. The investigation will determine if the individual’s actions presented a threat to the police or others and if deadly force was justified under the law.

              1. This can take a considerable amount of time because some or all of the following apply: Officer statements, witness statements, deceased’s actions on store video if available, deceased’s cell phone conversation if available, Deceased’s records and possible relevant evidence (search warrants may be required), subpoena for store video if required, investigative reports, autopsy investigation reports, toxicology reports, mental health records if relevant, laboratory reports on firearm ballistics, and much more. Then this evidence goes to a prosecutor who reviews it in light of the law. Nine times out of ten the prosecutor will take the case before a Grand Jury who will ultimately determine if the officer’s are criminally at fault.
                Finally, if it helps, my badge number is 0050. And that’s a fact.

                1. Ok thoreu, I agree with you that the police probably deserve the benefit of the doubt in this case because, as you noted, citizens called the police describing a man with a rifle and that’s what they found. However, you lost me when you describe the internal affairs investigation as being serious and thorough. 99% of these internal investigations clear the officers (admittedly that may be the correct result in this case). What other professions do we allow to investigate themselves to determine if they think they did anything wrong?

                  Surely if the police believe I did anything wrong, I am not allowed to investigate myself and get back to them when I have reached my decision.

                  1. Respectfully, the police officers will have to undergo an administrative investigation commonly referred to as an Internal Affairs Investigation (IAI). This is conducted by the member officer’s agency most commonly by administrative personnel who have extensive criminal investigations experience. The IAI is to determine if the agency’s policies and procedures were followed or not and if not why not. The reasons for an IAI is to protect the public, evaluation and correction of agency policies and procedures if needed, to address further needs for agency or officer training, to protect the agency, and to protect the officer-the latter two items have to do more with civil actions and reputation.
                    The IAI does not ever take the place of a separate criminal investigation. In this case the IAI is being conducted by an outside agency. This is almost always done in smaller agencies and also fairly common in larger municipalities. The incident will also be reviewed by a prosecutor’s office and most likely by a Grand Jury. The IAI and the criminal investigation do not stop or hinder a civil law suit. Civil actions are very common in most cases of use of force where death or serious injury is the result. They are also fairly common in perceived Constitutional Law violations.

                    1. As to what professions are allowed and consistently do investigate themselves, they are: Doctors and other medical professionals, Pharmacists, Attorneys, Judges, Engineers, Accountants and Fiduciaries, the Banking Industry, Architects, Land Surveyors, most Federal Agencies, many state regulatory agencies, and many more. While most law enforcement agencies conduct use of force investigations as I have described, there are several municipalities that require an additional civilian review board. These boards are made up of independent, non-related, and non-law enforcement members.

                    2. While it’s true that doctors investigate doctors and engineers investigate engineers, when there is a complaint or reported wrongdoing this investigation is NEVER done by any member of the same firm or company or generally from even the same nearby local.

                      I am an engineer. If there were a claim against me a independent third party from another region who knew none of the persons in the dispute would be brought in. That is nothing like a police department investigating itself.

                  2. Don’t forget that police also have a habit of bullying & threatening witnesses into reporting or outright believing what they are told to, rather than what they actually saw or what actually happened. Especially when there’s any hint of possible police wrongdoing.

        4. ” If the police had waited and Mr. Crawford shot a bunch of people in the meantime, ”
          He had not killed anyone in the minutes that it took for them to arrive. Why would he in the seconds it took for them to do their damn jobs?

          1. This is non sequitur. You are going to determine when a person armed with a gun and pointing it at people and pulling the trigger might or might not use it?

        5. If the police had waited and Mr. Crawford shot a bunch of people in the meantime, you would be bitching that the cops let him execute innocent by-standers.

          Don’t argue against the imaginary reaction that your imaginary sarc might have to an imaginary situation you’ve made up. Argue against the point sarc is making about the real situation that ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

          And as to your point, why don’t you start counting the number of situations where innocent bystanders were killed because police were on the scene not shooting at a suspect who might be armed and I’ll start counting the number of incidents where police shot someone who was unarmed or holding something that looked just like a Glock 23–you know, like a Wiimote, or a wallet–or who made a threatening gesture such as standing, and we’ll see who finishes up first.

          I promise not to count slow. You can have a five-minute head start.

          1. Your statement says that the police can’t shoot at a perceived threat until the threat shoots at them (the police) or innocent by-standers.

            This is illogical and unreasonable. In this incident, the reported facts and circumstances may find the police acted properly. On its face it appears so. However, the investigation must answer many questions the media report does not have. That will be the determining factor if the cops acted lawfully or not.

            1. Here’s the problem: A “perceived threat” isn’t necessarily a “real” threat, and there MUST be negative repercussions for killing people who are not a “real” threat. If you’re not willing to risk your life to determine the difference, then find another job. If “making it home at the end of the shift” is more important to you than the life of a 12-year-old with a BB gun, find another job. If you can’t tell the difference between a cell phone and a gun, and you’re too big of a pussy to take the time to make that determination, then find another job. If “furtive movements” cause you to fear for your life, find another job.

    2. Yeah, but the server crashed and the guy’s family is shit outta luck. Oh well…

      1. If by “crashed” you mean “was confiscated by police then lost,” then yes, the server will have crashed.

      2. For suing the police? Maybe. But suing the store for selling a fake weapon so terrifying that the police couldn’t tell it was a fake and killed him? Cha-ching.

        1. Since he was still in the store, they technically didn’t sell it to him.

          On the one hand, I’m tempted to assume the cops are in the wrong here. On the other hand, if the gun was realistic-looking and the guy was running around the store, pointing it at people, then both the reaction of the police and the person who reported it are understandable. Based on the information they received, it would be reasonable to assume that the guy was planning something.

          It’s one of the reasons I think the movement to open carry real long guns in stores is ridiculous and wrong-headed, although I recognize that it’s not connected to this situation.

          1. What about the “witness” who claimed he was loading the weapon?

            1. Very convenient, that ex-military “witness.”

            2. I can see some nincompoop simultaneously crapping and pissing his pants calling this in who has never seen a person handle a firearm, let alone one that is non-lethal, completely misinterpret what the guy was doing. “Pointing” at someone? Was he putting the butt to his shoulder aiming at people, or was he just haphazardly holding it in his hands with the muzzle sometimes horizontal pointing in the direction of somebody, the handler fully realizing that it was an unloaded pellet gun? “Loading” the gun? Was he just fiddling with the clip and mechanism being relatively clear that he didn’t have ammunition in his hands?

              1. The article stated one of the callers, “crapping and pissing in their pants” as you say, was a Marine. You have a good command of the facts though.

                1. Yes, a Marine who’s OODA loop was all out of whack, most likely. I will take a guess that he jumped from Observe (saw a “gun” that should have had an orange tip if it was indeed from off the shelf of the store and an airsoft gun) straight to Act (calling 911 to misreport something, assuming it was indeed an airsoft gun).

                  Most Marines aren’t any better in anything than the next random civilian. You’d think a Marine would be better at identifying a real weapon, and actual actions involved in aggressive actions with said weapon. This guy proves that isn’t always neccisarily the case…..

                  Fucktard got someone shot because he couldn’t orient, or go through a few more cycles of OODA.

                  1. Perhaps more worryingly is that I’m a former Marine and I didn’t know what an OODA loop was until 2 days ago.

                    Oh, and the Corp did a terrible job teaching me about funds. The average COD player knows more gun types than the typical Marine (and likely has a better understanding of how to use an OODA loop).

                    1. That continues to prove my point regarding misconceptions surrounding military personnel. They’re all just human, and just as diverse in their experiences and knowledge as any group of civilians. The shared stuff is very minor.

                      In my unit we learned a little about OODA loops. But I have become much more aware of the concept, and actively sought to apply it, after I got out. The owner of the company I work for is big into it (and he has zero military background).

                2. Yeah, Baby Blue Marine at best. And heroic too.

          2. if the gun was realistic-looking and the guy was running around the store, pointing it at people, then both the reaction of the police and the person who reported it are understandable.

            Only in a panic-prone, gun-ignorant, police state.

          3. On the other hand, if the gun was realistic-looking and the guy was running around the store, pointing it at people, then both the reaction of the police and the person who reported it are understandable.

            Perhaps, but if he keeps doing it without actually firing the weapon, it would be pretty clear he’s goofing around.

            Now, Walmart is going to be required to lock up the toys so that unfortunate situations like this never happen again.

            What was the store manager doing during all this? What were the employees doing? A simple, “Sir, would you like me to ring that up for you?” or something, followed by, “Well, I have been informed that some people have called the police, so you might want to put the toy gun back.” Something like that.

    3. Doesn’t sound like there was a lot of time between the warning and the shooting,

      You’re right. Sounds like they warned him right after they shot him.

      And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him.

      1. Shoot first and inquire afterwards, and if you make mistakes, I will protect you.

        Instruction to the Prussian police (1933)

        Hermann G?ring

  2. Is this a great country, or what?

      1. HE SAID, “IS THIS A GREAT COUNTRY OR WHAT?”

        1. And Tim chose what?

        2. Stop yelling!!!!

  3. AG: Investigation into Walmart shooting could take months

    Of course it will. There’s a lot of evidence to lose and stories to get straight.

    1. I’m mystified by how fucking long it takes to “investigate” something like this.

      You’ve got video cameras everywhere. It takes a few hours to get the footage, and a few more to review it.

      You’ve got a pretty finite number of witnesses. Should be able to interview them all in a few days. Max.

      You have very little physical evidence, and its all right there in one place. Time to gather: an hour, maybe. Time to analyze: call it another few days.

      You have zero documentary evidence.

      Why this can’t be wrapped up in a week, I have no idea.

      1. Budget cuts, my legal friend, budget cuts…

        You see, they can’t pay too much overtime, so the investigation gets stretched out until nobody can remember nuthin’

      2. It is interesting how they can process 2 dozen witnesses and 100 hours of security footage with two detectives and a handful of uniforms in 12 hours on “The First 48” for some moog shot at a gas station, but as soon as its a police involved shooting, hours become months.

        1. Well, to be fair, with one of them they already know who the murderers bastards are and need more time to make the desired outcome fit. It takes work to lose just the right evidence and tamper with witnesses.

      3. It can take some time to craft a good cover-up story.

        If a good cover-up story can’t be crafted, they have to wait until the short attention span of the American public is no longer interested.

      4. Hey, come on. This is an art form. It takes a long time to coerce witnesses and dig up all the evidence they can find to cast the victim in a negative light to justify killing him, not to MENTION giving the public time to forget their outrage and be exposed to damning messages about the victim.

  4. Jesus Fucking Christ.

    AND NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED. hth SMOOCHES

  5. Oh, PS – you know what else apparently died in Beavercreek, OH that day?

    Alt Text.

  6. Just don’t look at the comments on the link to the Dayton Daily News, unless you want to start your day off with a bunch of fucking bootlickers.

    Posted by duckstand at 10:07 a.m. Aug. 7, 2014
    “the deceased was a knucklehead. if you are 22 years old you do not play with a toy gun in a store.”

    Posted by LVinDayton at 10:55 a.m. Aug. 7, 2014
    KatinaCooper,” who is “us” and “we”? People who menace others with toy guns in WalMart?”

    1. Ohio…the second most compliant citizenry on the planet. The first being PA.

      I’m sure those fine officers were fully justified in murdering that hoodlum. He was probably on drugs at the time.

      1. Unfortunately, I fear you’re right. Ohioans love them some boots, and we pretty much always do what we’re told.

        ‘Course we have some pretty shitty police departments that have demonstrated that they will end you for disobeying, so…

      2. Any data to back that up? I’m from Pennsylvania, so I totally believe you, I’m just looking for some stats with which to cement my beliefs.

        Hell, where I come from violation of any law, no mater how unjust or petty, is considered prima facie evidence of high moral terpitude.

        1. No, just observational. I grew up in PA. Didn’t realize how fucked up it was until I left. Lived in Dayton for a few years and the two states are very similar.

      3. Bullshit.

    2. KatinaCooper,” who is “us” and “we”? People who menace others with toy guns in WalMart?”

      Oh yes. The terrible menace of toy guns.

      While we’re on the topic; I caught someone carrying an object that my brain immediately identified as a tool in the shop the other day. My brain jumped to the conclusion because I know the person pretty well; it was only after 5 minutes had while spacing out that I realized he was carrying his .45 around looking for a screwdriver to replace his laser sight batteries.

      If I were a cop, I guess the correct response would be to shoot first and look later.

  7. “A negro male that could be all hopped up on goofy pills could do anything. Anything! Our boys were right to take him down.”

  8. I see we got our nut-punch in early this weekend..

  9. I can see a massive lawsuit against Walmart, actually two.

    1. What did Walmart do? It was customers, not employees, who called the cops. And it was cops, not employees, who evacuated the building.

      1. “What did Walmart do?”

        Nothing more than hotel/motel owners when a person gets mugged or killed in their parking lot.. If something came up in court, Wal-Mart would probably settle quietly.

        1. The sad part of it is, the assumption is there will be a lawsuit and that the company will lose it.

          Justice?

          The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.- BS

          1. The sad part of it is, the assumption is there will be a lawsuit and that the company will lose it.

            Doubtful there would ever be a trial for them to lose. As soon as the family files its suit, Walmart will cut a check to make it go away, regardless of how meritless the suit it.

            1. As soon as the family files its suit, Walmart will cut a check to make it go away, regardless of how meritless the suit it.

              Not true. Wal-Mart is actually very averse to settling lawsuits – they have more slip-and-fall suits filed against them than anybody else and they know that once they agree to spend a few bucks settling a suit on the grounds that settling is cheaper than litigating they will have opened the floodgates. They will spend tens of thousands of dollars defending themselves against a $500 lawsuit.

              1. Not true. Wal-Mart is actually very averse to settling lawsuits – they have more slip-and-fall suits filed against them than anybody else–

                I didn’t know that, but it makes perfect sense that they’d constantly be getting slapped with slip-n-fall suits. Still, this incident resulted in a death and it’s made headlines. That might put a different coat of paint on it.

            2. Because it costs more to defend yourself from something you had ZERO responsibility for, than to pay out millions of bucks to make it go away. Why is that? Oh, could it be that they are encouraged to sue those with the deep pockets and are unable to sue the pig that shot him?

              Something not quite right with such a system.

      2. They sold a toy gun in the store, that should be plenty for the jury to find a jackpot in the law somewhere.

        1. That’s my point. They’ll take that and hang them.

      3. I sure would like to ask the guy who called the cops what he’s going to do next time he sees somebody in Wal-Mart with a gun. Does he consider himself a hero for alerting The Authoritahs to a potentially dangerous situation or does he think maybe he over-reacted just a tiny bit and now realizes that you only call 911 if somebody needs to die and you don’t much care if it’s you? (Imagine if the guy were hanging around waiting for the cops to show up and upon seeing them rushed toward them with his cellphone still in his hand. You don’t think they would have gladly shot him dead?)

        1. I can’t imagine because I wouldn’t have called the cops.

          1. Really, you call the cops and you just open the door to all this shit.

          2. There’s no situation so fucked the presence of police can’t make worse.

        2. He’s probably going to go to Sports Authority and call the cops on some guy holding a can of camp gas and a box of matches because there’s a possible suicide bomb situation in the store. But it’s okay, because the potential terrorist is just a 50-year-old white guy so they’ll just tell him no harm done and bid him good day, maybe take a selfie with him.

      4. Well, if it hadn’t been for their reckless decision to sell fake guns, this never would have happened. Also, they have deep pockets. It will be easier to collect from them than from the cops.

  10. The eye in the sky video of this will be illuminating.

    1. Assuming anyone will actually see it. Aside from the cops I mean.

      My guess is they will discover that the cameras were not working that hour in that section of the store.

    2. ^This, right here^

      If it doesn’t get “dammaged” or “misplaced”..

  11. And thus did Wal Mart stop carrying airsoft equipment (probably paintball too).

    FWIW, airsoft guns are required to be sold with a blaze orange barrel tip so they can be more easily identified as toys. Unless he stopped by the hardware department and picked up a can of spraypaint to modify it while he was still in the store, there’s no way anybody paying attention should have made that mistake, especially if the gun was pointing at them.

    1. I was just thinking the same thing. All they saw was the scary black dude.

      1. And yet, stand your ground laws = open season on black males, because the NRA is racist..

        /MSDNC

        1. I was at Angels Stadium last weekend, and the black dude sitting in front of me was wearing an NRA cap. Impossible! Because according to Tony, women and minorities don’t believe in freedom.

          1. A few times a month on my way to work I see a black guy driving his Volvo with a Ruger sticker in the window and a license plate that reads “NO THRET.” I guess it’s really all just a figment of my imagination, because UNPOSSIBLE.

      2. Um…

        Who said he was black? I read the story 3 times and found no mention of his race.

          1. Okay, I thought that racist Suthen was making an assumption. 😉

            Points for additional research.

          2. interesting how foreign press has no problems identifying a persons race, unlike here in
            America where the race is concealed and only identified if the person is white.

        1. Actually, the fact that the cops didn’t wait but immediately went all Fearless Fosdick on the victim strongly suggests that the latter was black. Cops tend to wait a second or two to check whether a honkie needs to be shot; when the person of interest is black, they tend to assume that taking time to confirm that he’s a bad guy is a luxury that can’t be indulged if they want to be sure of going home to their families at the end of their shift.

          1. honkie ?

            Dude honkey is so 1970s.

            It’s Cracka now. The A inplace of ER means you’re a good white boy. If someone says cracker that means you’re probably a Republican.

    2. This was not an airsoft, it was a .177cal pellet/BB gun that shoots metal pellets. the MK-177 is a multi-pump airgun. It is NOT a toy, it is a weapon, albeit a very weak weapon. It’s primarily for target shooting or maybe for shooting minor pests like crows.

      Airguns of this sort don’t have to have orange tips because they are NOT TOYS. Still, it seems like everybody overreacted. Even if this guy had opened a package of pellets and loaded it, he’d have to pump a lever in the forearm section under the barrel at least 3-8 times to make it able to fire ONCE.

      While they sell minor target weapons of this sort at Walmart, they don’t sell real guns anymore.

  12. OK, I’m doing some looking around, and it seems he had a Crossman MK 177 pellet gun. Not a real gun, but a BB at 800 fps is certainly capable of seriously wounding someone and maybe killing them if they’re unlucky. I’m not saying that the cops were justified, but this isn’t an Airsoft rifle.

    1. Ah.

      Aren’t those usually in the box or behind the counter?

      I have to say, walking around waving that was not smart. Not a capital offense, but not smart.

      1. Stupidity always carries the death penalty.

        1. Sometimes.

      2. It depends on what exactly he was doing with it. If somebody was pointing a pellet gun at me, I’d happily shoot him, that’s all I’m saying.

        1. The guy who called it in said that he was pointing it at people.

          We’re really just going to have to see the video. Given the information the cops got before they shot the guy, I’m inclined to say they’re not the party most at fault in this situation. They had a report of someone possibly planning a mass shooting at Wal-Mart. Can’t really blame them.

          1. If the guy was pointing it at people, then fuck him.

            If he was peacefully examining the weapon and the muzzle happened to drift past people in the store, then fuck the guys who falsely reported that he was pointing it at people.

            However, if he said “it isn’t real” and the cops shot him, then fuck the cops for being trigger happy goons; they weren’t in a quick draw contest where the second guy to shoot dies.

            1. If he was actually acting like he was aiming at people, sure. You don’t do that.

              One thing that hasn’t been mentioned here is that shooting a guy in a store full of people isn’t without risk, even assuming they guy was being dangerous with a gun. Given what good shots cops can be and their proclivity for emptying their guns into people, unless they guy seemed like he was about to kill someone, the cops firing was probably the most dangerous thing going on there, even if it had been a real firearm.

              1. Apparently the cops were evacuating the store too.

                And I agree with both you and tarran. Who’s at fault is really dependent on what actually happened. Absent that information, it’s just tough to say.

          2. “They had a report of someone possibly planning a mass shooting at Wal-Mart. Can’t really blame them.”

            I call bullshit. Just because they get a report that someone MIGHT be planning a crime is no justification to go in with guns blazing without the smallest hesitation. Not even the cops are saying he pointed the toy gun with an orange tip at them. I doubt there is a black guy in America that would expect to live through pointing something resembling a gun at the cops.

            Cops claim to be highly trained law enforcement officers. If so they should have the training to avoid these kind of murders.

            1. Cops are trained to kill anyone who doesn’t obey them. This guy didn’t obey them when they ordered him to drop the gun and get on the ground. Of course that was because they’d already shot him several times, but that’s no excuse.

            2. Again, we’re speculating based on second- and third-hand information. In this case, without a video it’s pretty much impossible to determine who did what or who overreacted. If the cops believed that there was a mass shooter present, the witness believed the guy was a mass shooter, and the guy acted irrationally, the police may be justified. If it turns out that one or all of those things was untrue, the cops may be the problem.

              Just saying that we need actual evidence (in this case, probably a video) to make an accurate determination of responsibility.

        2. A pellet gun new in a store will be unloaded. That should be obvious.

      3. At my Walmart, the BB and pellet guns are in boxes, but not behind a counter or in a case.

      4. Yeah, I don’t recall ever seeing any pellet guns in a Walmart that weren’t in a locked case or at least in boxes.

      5. When you’re sure your weapon is not loaded, because you just pulled it off the shelf at the store where they sell it, and you’re sure you are not doing anything wring, because you are walking around a store where they sell the thing you are holding, then you tend to act casually, doing things like making sure the Wal-Mart airgun works and that all the crappy plastic levers are functional so you don’t by a dud weapon some snotty little kid broke when their parents weren’t looking. I’ve been in a WalMart doing LITERALLY the same thing – pulling back and replacing the little loading lever, wondering how many times i can do that before it breaks and whether it’s worth buying, wondering why they make everything out of crappy plastic these days. No one called the police on me. I was not murdered by the police. I had the luxury of buying the crappy pellet gun and going home, because I’m a 30-year-old white woman. I don’t think what I was doing was unwise or that I was lucky to be alive – I call it good consumerism. It’s impossible that when I did it, it was good consumerism, but when that poor kid did it it was an unbearable threat that needed to be met with lethal force. Completely impossible.

        Even if I’d been pointing it at people and yelling BANG, I would have been given the benefit of the doubt, and at worst asked (asked!) to leave the store.

    2. That makes more sense wrt the barrel marking I mentioned above. I don’t think pellet/bb guns are subject to the same requirements since they aren’t replicas.

      1. I think that BB/pellet guns can’t have an orange tip. They are capable of causing some real damage, even death if you get a lucky shot.

        1. Sure, if you put the barrel right up to someone’s eye and pull the trigger, or if you’re a squirrel. A Wal-mart pellet gun would probably break before you pumped it enough to get enough force to kill a human with, even point-blank.

          No one involved thought this through at all. You can’t hold some panicky dingbat responsible for calling the police in a knee-jerk moment, sadly, but you can absolutely hold the police to a high standard of judging situations and making sure everyone gets out with their rights and their lives intact. Everyone, including the potential “aggressor,” because there is always a chance that the situation is *less* bad than it appears, and that someone made a mistake. That it’s not a good-guy,bad-guy situation where one party needs to die.

          That’s a heavy responsibility, but that’s what police officers supposedly sign up for, and we need to hold them responsible for failing, lest failing become a habit.

    3. Panic fire, somebody let Barney load his bullet and THIS is what happens.

    4. OK, I’m doing some looking around, and it seems he had a Crossman MK 177 pellet gun. Not a real gun, but a BB at 800 fps is certainly capable of seriously wounding someone and maybe killing them if they’re unlucky. I’m not saying that the cops were justified, but this isn’t an Airsoft rifle.

      If (stress the IF) that’s the case, Robby Soave needs to be bitch slapped. Can we please leave the sensationalism and omissions to the MSM and have a higher standard of truthfulness here at Reason?

      1. The guy would have to take the BB gun (was not an airsoft gun) out of the package. It resembles a Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal SCAR rifle and would be difficult to distinguish apart even at close range. The guy was being an idiot and perhaps didn’t understand the situation he created.

        1. Again, not a capital offense. If I’d been in that same situation – and I was in that *exact* situation last year, buying a pellet gun at wal-mart and testing the stupid plastic lever to make sure it isn’t going to break immediately – I would have walked away alive. In fact, I did. No one called the police, despite it being a busy day at wal-mart. No one even gave me a talking-to. I was given the benefit of the doubt.

          Would you say I was being an idiot, putting my life in my hands? Or would you say I was being a sensible customer, and this guy was being an idiot?

          If this guy was casually carrying a gun around wal-mart, there are 2 possibilities:
          One, he was carrying a gun they sold at the store, which are all nonlethal and at best could give someone a skin wound.

          Two, he was a dangerous lunatic who brought a gun in from outside. And somehow no one noticed that on the way in, not even the kind of person who calls the cops at everything. And he had not used the element of surprise to shoot anyone, and was just walking around the store casually brandishing the gun. IN A STATE WITH OPEN CARRY. There was no reason for the police not to pause, observe, and then request he put the gun down.

          There was no need for this at all, no matter how you slice it.

    5. Whether it was a pellet gun or an “airsoft”, it is still a real threat. To say “Fake Gun” in the title of his article is nothing short of journalistic bias.

      Then there is the matter he obviously took the weapon out of its box to carry around. If there was no ill intent he would have left it in the box.

      1. It is a real threat. It might break the skin.

        1. No, it is a real threat. If you have doubt we can set up a remote trigger release and you can go ahead and shoot yourself at 30 feet with a .177 caliber pellet at 800 fps. I’ll even call the paramedics for you while you’re pressing the plunger.

        2. Clark: It could lodge under the skin and cause a very bad infection.

          Security Guard: That’s an old wive’s tale, Clark! I’m telling.

      2. . If there was no ill intent he would have left it in the box.

        Wow.

        Never go full retard, man.

      3. Maybe someone else took it out of the box and he picked it up…

      4. Maybe not the airsoft. Aren’t those generally used for shooting at people (even if the instructions say not to)?

        Pellet guns are definitely real guns. Probably unlikely to cause really serious harm to a person, but it will break the skin and hitting the right place could cause some serious injury. I’ve killed a woodchuck with one shot from a 1000 fps air gun.

        1. More than a few people have been killed by pellet guns. Usually they’re hit in the heart or brain. It does take quite a bit of bad luck, but it has happened.

  13. The other day I was walking in my neighborhood and saw two knuckleheads about age 13 also walking along the street adjacent to an elementary school while toting an air rifle.

    I know it was an air rifle because I heard the familiar spring-air sound when they would stop to shoot at signs, and telephone poles and such.

    I can’t help but shake the feeling I should have told them to be careful since most other people are morons, can’t tell the difference, and would absolutely call for a SWAT raid since they were right next to a school.

    1. saw two knuckleheads about age 13

      You could have saved some keystrokes by just saying “saw two 13-year-old boys.” (They were boys, weren’t they?)

      1. Not all 13-year-olds are knuckleheads. Some are even worse.

        And of course, they were boys.

  14. Actually I should also add that people not raised in a gun culture, not familiar with custom and safe practice, not aware of the serious responsibility that gun possession requires, do not have gun wisdom engraved on their brain.

    I have seen such people do incredibly foolish things with guns.

    When I went to grade school we had gun safety classes in school and the sheriff’s department had a shooting exhibition in the school every year which included stern gun safety lectures.

    I blame this on the hoplophobes.

    1. Schools had a choice of gun safety or DARE. Leftards and Rightards found common ground with DARE.

    2. ^THIS.

    3. Thanks for the perspective. Being of rural (think ‘this here’s mah BBQ gun!’) extraction, I frequently forget that guns are of an almost mythical quality in many cultural groups, rather than being dangerous-if-mishandled-tools and sometimes-fashion-accessories.

    4. I was raised to never point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them. Ever. No exceptions.

      It’s so deeply encoded that I’ve been drunk in a bar playing Big Buck Hunter and would always hand the gun over with the barrel pointed to the floor.

  15. Beavercreek has turned the case over to the state Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

    Damn, the guy’s dead and they’re still looking into charging him with some crime? Is this some way of seizing his estate and making him pay for the bullet they executed him with?

    1. Suspect this is to “investigate” if the cops were justified

      1. What do you mean “if?” They’re always justified.

      2. Suspect this is to “investigate” if the cops were justified.

        What’s there to investigate as far as the cops are concerned? If the shooting weren’t justified they wouldn’t have shot, the fact that they shot proves it was justified. I’m sticking with my theory that the investigation is to prove how guilty the guy was of provoking the shooting and how remarkably restrained the cops were in not nuking the entire Wal-Mart.

  16. Being dumb doesn’t call for the death penalty, just like being scantily clad doesn’t call for rape. The police have an obligation to use their weapons more carefully and there ar e protocols in place for these situations….I see another huge lawsuit.

    1. Being dumb doesn’t call for the death penalty

      No, but it gets plenty of people dead every day.

  17. To the beat of the Julie Brown song…Everybody run, a nigga in Walmart got a gun, everybody run a nigga in Walmart has gotta gun

  18. Clearly the cops were in the wrong here. We’re always trying to shift the blame on to someone else instead of manning up and taking responsibility for our actions.

    So, this guy was shot a killed in a store while looking at a fake gun that the store sells. He was killed for it. To try and blame him or Walmart is ridiculous.

    In The US the police terrorize the citizens. This is not the way it should be.

  19. Given the information the cops got before they shot the guy, I’m inclined to say they’re not the party most at fault in this situation. They had a report of someone possibly planning a mass shooting at Wal-Mart. Can’t really blame them.

    Good grief.

  20. That’d be great if actual footage was shown. If he was, in fact, pointing a rifle (fake or not) at children, I understand the people calling the police.

    1. it sounds like he was looking at toy guns possibly for his children and since he was a dad and there were other kids there its very possible that he and the kids were pointing at each other in fun, like I do with my nephews with their toy guns. Now we all know not to play with kids in stores for we might get shot by people who can’t tell play from real life.

  21. I’m interested to see how much warning the police gave before they opened fire.

    Frankly, if I was in Wal-Mart with my kids and somebody pointed a pellet gun at one of them I would probably not give any warning at all.

    1. The one witness account we have so far (early reports, unreliable, etc.) is that they warned him after they shot him.

      We’ll see, if by some freak of nature the video system was actually working.

    2. According to the woman who was on the phone with him while he was shot, they warned him after they started shooting.

    3. We’ll never know for sure. Cops and kill us at will and say it was in self-defense or that they felt that their lives were in danger.

      The State can do whatever it wants to you in what used to be a free country.

  22. “[A]nd the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him…”

    Yet another reason why it is the police who should be prohibited from carrying firearms.

    1. Agreed. If cops didn’t carry guns thousands of innocent Americans wouldn’t be executed every year.

  23. Chief Wiggum must be proud of his men.

  24. OT: Hurrah!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..-dead.html

    “US teenager turns in her police officer parents for MURDER after her boyfriend is shot dead”

    1. Insane. They killed their daughters boyfriend and then shot at her.

      When are we going to start water boarding the police for their crimes against the citizens of this country?

    2. From the article:

      The Keplers are being held without bail pending the filing of formal charges and have both been placed on paid administrative leave.

      Paid vacation with free room and board in county jail.

  25. “Paranoia strikes deep …”

  26. As a general rule, I no longer give cops the benefit of the doubt in matters like this.

    However, this case is an exception: some airsoft-type guns are realistic replicas of actual firearms. (My son bought an airsoft gun that was indistinguishable from an AK-47 from ten feet away except for the orange tip. He got his at Shorty USA, http://www.shortyusa.com/, by mail; I don’t know whether WalMart sells something similar.) If the WalMart video shows the guy pointing the gun at people in the store as claimed, and the gun was of a replica similar to what my son had, I doubt that this event, though tragic, was the consequence of police misconduct.

    1. I should have read comments before posting. It was a Crossman MK 177 pellet rifle.

      If the guy was goofing around, pointing the rifle at people, he may not have known it but he was asking for trouble. Only the video can determine that.

    2. (My son bought an airsoft gun that was indistinguishable from an AK-47 from ten feet away except for the orange tip.

      Ahem.

      1. The orange tip could easily be missed. If a stranger were to enter my house right now holding the same toy gun that my son had and I had learned earlier that some guy was roaming the neighborhood pointing a weapon at people, he’d probably get three 9mm rounds before I noticed the tip. It would be tragic, but the guy would have died from his own foolishness, not my malice or triggerhappiness.

        Still, this story is sounding more like trigger-happy cop. The media has already mis-reported the type of gun, which was a pellet rifle without orange tip rather than a replica airsoft gun.

        1. According to the person he was on the phone with when he was killed, the cops ordered him to the ground after they shot him.

          1. Shoot first, ask questions later.

            1. They don’t ask questions. They issue commands.

  27. Holy shit, shopping while black!? How’d he make it past the DWB checkpoints to start with!?

  28. They had a report of someone possibly planning a mass shooting at Wal-Mart. Can’t really blame them.

    AAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I heard someone’s planning a shooting somewhere. Better declare martial law.

  29. (Astonishingly, Crawford was not the only person to die in the Walmart that day. A 37-year-old woman, Angela Williams, suffered some kind of medical episode as she was exiting the store during the shooting. She apparently had a pre-existing medical condition, and died after being transported to the hospital.)

    If he were still alive, he’d be charged with murder.

  30. If this is a one-off, maybe you chalk it up to an accident of something. But when people are getting mowed down like this all the time, something has to change.

    Seriously, how long was he in the store? Was he gonna wait an hour before he started shooting? Can the police not do the most minimally investigative work? Had he verbally threatened anyone?

    Geesh…

  31. UPDATE: This was not a toy gun nor was it an airsoft rifle (which would have an orange tip on the barrel identifying it clearly). This was an MK-177 (.177 cal) BB/Pellet Rifle, mfd by Crosman and shoots BBs/Pellets at up to 800 fps. It is definitely not a “toy” and doesn’t look like one. While it wouldn’t kill an adult it could do some serious damage with several shots fired at close range.

    I’m pretty skeptical of police power, but I’m also skeptical of a story from the mom on the phone… and I question the intentions of a young man who, knowing the gun is not a toy and looks menacing to the average shopper, would display it in any way that a former marine would consider threatening.

    I find it incredibly unlikey that two officers, walked into a walmart (not a dark alley, a freakin walmart), in plain view of shoppers, employees and untold security cameras, and thought it would be “fun” to shoot and kill someone ‘just because’. Something else happened here and it will show on the security tape.

    1. What you’ll see is the cops approaching with guns drawn, issuing some command, and then opening fire a half second later when they are not immediately obeyed. That’s how most of these shootings go down, and it will of course be justified. It always is.

      1. Exactly right and completely insane. Same as Santa Rosa last November. “Drop the gun! Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang!”

    2. Oooh, a pellet gun could “do some serious damage.”

      More damage than he could have done with his car in the parking lot?

      More damage than he could have done with a baseball bat from the sporting goods dept? A kitchen knife from the home department?

      This is just our rulers yet again delegitimizing gun possession by the peasants.

  32. “I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”

    He was human, but a peasant – not part of the government. You can shoot peasant. It’s peasant season! Cops have a peasant hunting license. Nothing to see here.

    1. I want to laugh, but it’s too true and too sick.

  33. Air rifles are full sized implements with wood or polymer stocks and steel barrels. They are used for hunting small game. They in no way are marked as “toys”.

    While it is arguably tragic that he was killed by police, I am inclined to believe that most of the fault lies with the 22 year old man being a complete ass.

    If it had been a 12 year old boy, then I would have been more sympathetic to the deceased.

  34. Does this look like a “toy”?

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog…..rifle1.jpg

    1. Well it isn’t scary and black so….

      Anyways, it doesn’t absolve the public, and more so the police, of their irrational fear of guns.

    2. No, it looks exactly like a single-shot, break-action pellet gun.

  35. There you have it folk. The ludicrous insanity of the uber programmed left commie.

    1. lololol i no rite? thanks obama lololol freedom whut

  36. There are several aspects of this story that raise red flags, not the least of which is an ex Marine who couldn’t tell the difference between loading a real weapon and a toy? Did this rifle have removable magazines like the real deal, or did it load from a bottle of pellets.
    There seems a movement to counter open carry proponents with calls to 911 about a man with a gun threatening people, was this on?

  37. OHIO IS AN OPEN CARRY STATE.
    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=286

    White kids can intentionally carry assault rifles into Wal-Mart, and people try to hold them up as heroes of freedom… but this poor kid walks around with an unloaded air rifle that they sell in the store, and the police murder him. There is no rationalizing this. Nothing he was doing or had done in the past, nothing he was wearing, nothing about him at all made it okay for the police to shoot him dead without even pausing to observe and judge the situation for one second.

  38. Nice write-up Robbie. This story has been making me sick all week, and no one seems to have heard about it. St. Louis and Iraq have sucked all the air out of the media. If there is an ounce of sanity in Ohio, the cops will be prosecuted for manslaughter, fired, and have their FOID cards revoked. Clearly they are not safe with a loaded gun, as their brains don’t actually work.

    This story is completely insane.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.