Walmart to keep air gun displays


Walmart to keep air gun displays

Walmart plans no immediate changes in the sale or display of realistic-looking air guns in the wake of a fatal police shooting at a Beavercreek store this week.

The retail giant said Friday that it is working with law enforcement to reconstruct the incident using video footage captured during the event.

John Crawford III, 22, of Fairfield, was shot Tuesday night after police said he did not drop an air rifle when instructed to do so by Beavercreek police officers Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow.

Angela Williams, 37, of Fairborn, also died in the incident while running from inside the Walmart store with her 9-year-old daughter. An autopsy is attempting to determine the cause of death for the woman who worked as a nurse in Springfield.

Brian Nick, a Walmart spokesman based at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., left open the potential that 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.

The Attorney General’s Office said Crawford was shot while carrying an MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/Pellet Rifle, manufactured by Crosman. It is known as a “variable pump air rifle.” Online ads show the MK-177 has a retail price of around $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.”

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

In other developments Friday, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said it is listing John Crawford III’s manner of death as homicide, or death as caused by another person. He died of a gunshot to the torso. Crawford’s full autopsy will take several weeks to complete.

Dayton attorney Michael Wright, who has been retained by Crawford’s family, said funeral arrangements are being made in Cincinnati. The funeral is expected next Saturday, he added. He said he plans to hold a press conference on the shooting Monday at his office.

“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.”

A check of law enforcement records shows Crawford has been arrested and cited in Colerain Twp., according to Hamilton County Municipal Court records.

He was charged with possession of marijuana in 2012 and 2013.

In August 2013, Crawford was arrested in connection with an armed robbery in North College Hill in Hamilton County. However, a Hamilton County grand jury declined to issue an indictment on the charges.

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

“Some of the cameras have captured at least some of what took place,” she said. Del Greco said she couldn’t comment on what the footage shows, noting that she hasn’t personally reviewed the images.

BCI assigned three cyber crimes agents, three crime scene agents, three investigators, one person from the criminal intelligence unit and a supervisor to the case. The investigation is expected to be lengthy — a matter of months instead of days or weeks.

Audio of additional 911 calls released Friday by the city of Beavercreek showed that four calls were made to emergency dispatchers after the shooting, two from men and two from women. No other calls were made before the police shooting except the call from the original caller, who reported an armed man at the store pointing what looked like a rifle at people.

Beavercreek Mayor Brian Jarvis said Friday that he shops regularly at the Walmart store where the incident occurred and that he was at first disbelieving when word of the shooting began to spread via online social networks.

“I was quite surprised,” he said, noting that it’s only the second police-involved shooting in the city in decades. “It’s an outlier. It’s not something we encounter at all. My heart goes out to the customers and employees and families involved.”

Reporter Laura Bischoff contributed to this report.

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