A man shot dead by police in a U.S. supermarket may have been killed after picking up a toy gun, his relatives have claimed.
John Crawford was gunned down at a Walmart store in Beavercreek amid reports that he was waving a rifle at customers, including children.
But relatives of the 22-year-old have contacted civil rights organisations after claiming he was holding a toy gun in the toy section of the shop when the incident unfolded.
LeeCee Johnson, who has claimed to be the mother of Mr Crawford’s two children, said she was speaking to him on the telephone when police descended on the scene.
Dayton Daily News report her as saying: ‘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.’
‘And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.’
Beavercreek Police and Ohio Attorney General’s Office have yet to respond to the claims but have insisted officers at the scene acted appropriately.
Mr Crawford’s cousin Lamon Brown says the family has contacted rights group the NAACP as well as National Action Network.
Lamon Brown, Crawford’s cousin, spoke on behalf of the family. The family has contacted the NAACP and National Action Network, he said.
He repeated claims that he believed Mr Crawford was holding a toy when he was shot and that he does not own a rifle-like weapon.
Tasha Thomas who has said she was Mr Crawford’s current girlfriend said he was not armed when he walked into the store and that she was in another aisle when the incident happened.
The drama unfolded on Tuesday night after a witness at the scene told a 911 dispatcher that a man with a rifle was near the pet supplies section and appeared to be loading a firearm.
‘There is a gentleman walking around with a gun in the store. … He’s, like, pointing it at people,’ the witness said. (video above)
John Crawford was shopping in Wal-Mart (shown in a file image) in Beavercreek, Ohio when he was shot dead by police
According to abc22, the two officers involved in the shooting were Sgt. David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams.
Later in the call, sounds like gunshots can be heard, followed by someone screaming for people to leave.
Authorities say a customer also died after suffering a medical problem during the evacuation of the store Tuesday. Police identified her as Angela Williams, 37, of Fairborn.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said by email Wednesday that the company is working with investigators and is “deeply saddened about the loss of life.”
Beavercreek police said initial investigations indicate the officers responded appropriately. State investigators will review the shooting.
After the shooting, Chief Dennis Evers, Beavercreek police Department, said: ‘Officers confronted the subject inside the store area near the pet supplies holding a rifle. The officers gave verbal command to the subject to drop the weapon.
‘The subject later identified as John Crawford was shot after failing to comply with the officer’s commands.’.
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