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Cops shoot and kill man holding toy gun in Wal-Mart

Police fatally shot and killed a 22-year-old man who was holding a toy rifle in a Wal-Mart store in Ohio.
A police officer on a street.
A police officer on a street.

A young man holding a toy rifle in a Wal-Mart was shot and killed on Tuesday by police in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio, according to Raw Story. John Crawford, 22, was carrying a toy gun he picked up in the store, alarming two other shoppers.

LeeCee Johnson, the mother of Crawford's children, told the Dayton Daily News she was on the phone with him while he was browsing in the store. "We was just talking," she told the Ohio newspaper. "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."

CBS reports that two other Wal-Mart customers, April and Ronald Ritchie, saw Crawford walking around the store with what appeared to be a gun and called the police. The police station reports that officers asked Crawford to put down the weapon, and opened fire when he did not comply. He later died of his gun shot wounds at a nearby hospital, where his death was ruled a homicide by the Montgomery County coroner's office. A request for comment by msnbc to the Beavercreek police department was not immediately returned. 

The Ohio Attorney General's office has said that the gun Crawford was carrying was an MK-177 BB/Pellet rifle, also known as a "variable pump air rifle." Family members could not be reached for comment by msnbc.

Tasha Thomas, who identified herself as Crawford's girlfriend, told the Dayton Daily News that she drove Crawford to the Wal-Mart and was also in the store, but was in a different aisle from Crawford when the shooting happened. He was not armed when he entered the store, she said. "He did not have any type of gun on him. It’s not fair."

A relative told the paper the family had contacted the NAACP and the National Action Network, a civil rights group led by MSNBC's Rev. Al Sharpton.