In August, a 22-year-old shopper at an Ohio Walmart was shot dead by officers after another shopper accused him of pointing a fake gun at children and adults inside the store.
Now, Ronald Ritchie, who originally told police that the man was a direct threat to shoppers, is changing his story.
At the time of the incident, Ritchie told a 911 dispatcher that the man, John Crawford III, appeared to be “trying to load” the gun in the Beavercreek store.
Now, however, Ritchie claims Crawford didn’t turn the weapon on anyone.
“At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” Ritchie told The Guardian.
According to authorities, Crawford took an unloaded BB gun off a shelf and had a phone in one hand, and the unloaded gun—a Crosman MK-177 BB/pellet rifle—in the other.
Crawford’s family’s attorney told The Guardian that a preliminary autopsy shows that Crawford was shot in the back of his left arm and in the left side.
Crawford’s family successfully pleaded with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to release the store’s surveillance video of the incident. The family claims that the footage disproves Ritchie’s version of events.
“It was an execution, no doubt about it,” said Crawford’s father. “It was flat-out murder. And when you see the footage, it will illustrate that.”
Further potential falsehoods have also been revealed in Ritchie’s story: after the shooting, he told several news outlets that he was an ex-marine. However, in reality, he had served a mere seven weeks before being kicked out of the marines in 2008 as a “fraudulent enlistment.”
Ritchie maintains that there was confusion over his paperwork.
Beavercreek Police Sgt. David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams were both reportedly involved in the ensuing shooting. Both Darkow and Williams have been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The Guardian reports that Darkow has returned to work. Williams, however, who was the officer behind the only other fatal police shooting in Beavercreek’s history, has not.
The chaotic incident also claimed the life of another shopper: 37-year-old Angela Williams collapsed as the incident was unfolding.
A grand jury will begin hearing evidence on the case later this month.
Photo Sources: NY Daily News