An Ohio judge has found that there is probable cause to prosecute the 911 caller who claimed that John Crawford III was pointing a gun at people inside a Wal-Mart store in August 2014.
Ronald Ritchie “created the incident that resulted in the death of not only John Crawford but another shopper by the name of Angela Williams,” Bomani Moyenda, one of 10 people who filed affidavits March 25, told reporters, according to WCPO.
On Aug. 5, 2014, Ritchie called police claiming that the 22-year-old Crawford was aiming a gun at people, including children, as he walked the aisles of a Beavercreek, Ohio, Wal-Mart. Police stormed the store, and within moments, Crawford was shot dead. Later, police would learn that Crawford was carrying an air pistol that he had picked up inside the store, and video from the store showed him carrying the gun on his shoulder but didn't show him aiming the gun at anyone, the Dayton Daily News reports.
While Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth Root found that there was probable cause to prosecute Ritchie for making false reports, she ruled that there was not probable cause to prosecute Ritchie for inciting violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide. It is unclear which legal steps might follow, but the judge, in her decision, wrote that the case should be referred to a prosecutor.
According to the Daily News, another shopper in the Wal-Mart at the time of the police shooting, Williams, 37, ran from the store with her daughter after gunshots were fired, suffered a medical problem and also died that night.
If tried, Ritchie would face a first-degree misdemeanor charge punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, the Daily News reports.