John Crawford III was shot dead by Beavercreek, Ohio, police about a month ago for simply carrying a BB gun as he walked through the aisles in Wal-Mart.
A witness to the incident, Ronald Ritchie, was responsible for calling 911 and reporting Crawford to law enforcement, saying that a black man was “walking around with a gun in the store,” posing a threat to shoppers and pointing the firearm toward them, The Guardian reports.
However, now Ritchie is changing his story, insisting that Crawford never made any gesture indicative of pointing the gun at customers in the store.
“At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old told The Guardian, although he still claims that Crawford III was waving the BB gun around.
That is not the only hole opening up in Ritchie’s story. According to The Guardian, the young man, who had previously told reporters after the shocking shooting that he was an “ex-Marine,” now acknowledges that he was tossed from the Corps for “fraudulent enlistment” after serving only seven weeks. Ritchie explained to the news site that his removal from the Corps was due to problems with his paperwork.
Ritchie told The Guardian that he has a heart condition that caused him to be discharged. He claims that he had disclosed the condition, but said that his recruiter never turned in the paperwork. Weeks later he was dismissed after his condition was discovered, he explained.
Attorneys for Crawford’s family, however, are trying to get surveillance video of that fateful day in early August released in order to further discredit Ritchie’s version of the events before the young father of two was gunned down.
According to the attorneys, who have been able to view the video footage, Crawford never made any threatening movements, and every other shopper seemed unbothered by his presence, BB gun and all.
“It was an execution, no doubt about it,” John Crawford II said of his son’s death. “It was flat-out murder. And when you see the footage, it will illustrate that.”
According to the attorneys and family who have seen the video, Crawford III was on his cellphone as he walked into the sporting goods section of the chain store, picking up the BB gun that was already unboxed. They claim that he continued walking around the store with the BB gun at his side, pointed toward the floor.