These facts we know to be true:
John Crawford III was shot and killed Tuesday night by Beavercreek, Ohio police officers in a Walmart.
Crawford was holding either an airsoft (6mm plastic projectile) or BB/pellet (4.5mm/.177-caliber metal projectile) rifle sold by Walmart that he picked up in the store.
Crawford was on the phone when he was shot.
Crawford did not have a criminal record.
From there, the tale of what happened next diverges significantly depending upon the perspective of who is telling the story.
LeeCee Johnson, who claims that she is the mother of Crawford’s children, says that Mr. Crawford was on the phone with her when he was shot. What she heard suggests that he was gunned down with little warning.
Later in the original post, and update says it was a Crossman pellet rifle with a resemblance to an FN SCAR rifle.
Here’s the thing- I don’t know if the people that called 911 did so with malice against open carry, out of some hyped up fear of a potential mass shooter, or out of a genuine concern. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know.
I’ll note this- I hate these pellet guns that look so similar to real guns, and Airsoft guns in particular. I’ve long thought that something just like this would happen. It’s virtually impossible for a police officer to distinguish whether or not the “rifle” is real or not.
Add in that Mr. Crawford was likely distracted by his phone and not really paying attention to his surroundings, and the natural reaction that when police start yelling at you, you tend to turn and face them. From the police point of view, when someone who appears to be armed with a rifle turns toward you, that almost always falls in to the category of imminent threat. Whether this incident is ruled justifiable use of force or not, I think we can all agree that it is hardly surprising that the police opened fire.
Mr. Crawford does not appear to have been breaking any laws. But he was also a young black man that appeared to be armed in a public place. His own sense of self preservation should have encouraged him to take steps to minimize the risk that someone would mistake his actions.