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Community Remembers John Crawford III Seven Years After Death

John Crawford Junior speaks into a microphone while holding a yellow flyer with his late son's name and face on it. Crawford Junior was attending a memorial for his son who was shot and killed by police inside the Beavercreek Walmart seven years ago.
Chris Welter
John Crawford Junior shares memories of his late son at a memorial Thursday night outside the Beavercreek Walmart. Crawford III was shot by police inside the store seven years ago.

Members of the Yellow Springs Speaking Up For Justice group hosted a memorial Thursday night for John Crawford III outside the Beavercreek Walmart.

It was a typical Thursday evening inside the store, with shoppers wheeling around their carts and scanning their groceries.

Outside the store, John Crawford Junior was speaking to a small crowd about his late son. He didn’t have anything prepared, but he ended up talking for about an hour.

“He was kind of a generally laid back kind of guy, you know, until he played football,” Crawford Junior said. “And then, you know, we had to almost pay for two children's dental plans... I was looking forward to him playing college ball, you know, going out, playing college ball. Of course, unfortunately, that didn't happen.”

Crawford III was shot by a Beavercreek police officer inside the store while holding a BB gun. Officers said they thought the gun was real and claimed that he was pointing it at people. Security footage later showed that he was not.

Crawford Junior said the family is in the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart. They already settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the city of Beavercreek for $1.7 million.

“They're not going to belly up if I get a few of their billion dollars for the death of my son that they helped cause,” Crawford Junior said. “Because had they done what they should have done? We wouldn't be here.”

Their next goal is to get the street going into the Walmart parking lot named after him.

Mawa Iqbal is a reporter for WYSO. Before coming to WYSO, she interned at Kansas City PBS's digital magazine, Flatland. There, her reporting focused on higher education and immigrant communities in the Kansas City area. She studied radio journalism at Mizzou, where she also worked for their local NPR-affiliate station as a reporter.