The man whose 911 call led to the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old unarmed man in an Ohio Walmart is changing his story.
When Ronald Ritchie initially called the police from Walmart last month, he reported that a black man was “walking around with a gun in the store” and that shoppers were coming under direct threat.
But now, he’s recounting the incident in a drastically different way.
“He’s, like, pointing it at people,” Ritchie told the dispatcher. Later that evening, after John Crawford III had been shot dead by one of the police officers who hurried to the scene in Beavercreek, Ritchie repeated to reporters: “He was pointing at people. Children walking by.”
One month later, Ritchie puts it differently. “At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old said, in an interview with the Guardian. He maintained that Crawford was “waving it around”, which attorneys for Crawford’s family deny.
Ritchie told several reporters after the 5 August shooting that he was an “ex-marine”. When confronted with his seven-week service record, however, he confirmed that he had been quickly thrown out of the US marine corps in 2008 after being declared a “fraudulent enlistment”, over what he maintains was simply a mixup over his paperwork.
Crawford, 22, turned out to be holding an unloaded BB air rifle that he had picked up from the store’s toy department. Ritchie told the dispatcher that Crawford appeared to be “trying to load” the gun. The dispatcher then relayed the message to the officer.
The Crawfords’ attorneys say they had learned the preliminary findings of an autopsy were that he was shot in the back of his left arm and side. The discovery supports the family’s claim that Crawford was not facing police at the time of his death.
“It was an execution, no doubt about it,” alleged Crawford’s father, John Crawford II. “It was flat-out murder. And when you see the footage, it will illustrate that.”
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