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SWATted

I mentioned a bit back my doubts about the story of the kid walking through Wal-Mart with an BB gun pointing it at people. Because, frankly, I thought it was odd that the BB gun was not in a box. And because when you buy guns at Wal-Mart, they tend to walk out of the store carrying them for you. But the person who called the police has been caught lying and has changed his story because, it turns out, Wal-Mart has video cameras:

When Ronald Ritchie called 911 from the aisles of a Walmart in western Ohio last month to report that a black man was “walking around with a gun in the store”, he said that shoppers were coming under direct threat.

“He’s, like, pointing it at people,” Ritchie told the dispatcher. Later that evening, after John Crawford III had been shot dead by one of the police officers who hurried to the scene in Beavercreek, Ritchie repeated to reporters: “He was pointing at people. Children walking by.”

One month later, Ritchie puts it differently. “At no point did he shoulder the rifle and point it at somebody,” the 24-year-old said, in an interview with the Guardian. He maintained that Crawford was “waving it around”, which attorneys for Crawford’s family deny.

Ritchie told several reporters after the 5 August shooting that he was an “ex-marine”. When confronted with his seven-week service record, however, he confirmed that he had been quickly thrown out of the US marine corps in 2008 after being declared a “fraudulent enlistment”, over what he maintains was simply a mixup over his paperwork.

Crawford, 22, turned out to be holding an unloaded BB air rifle that he had picked up from a store shelf. After Ritchie said Crawford appeared to be “trying to load” the gun, the 911 dispatcher relayed to an officer that it was believed the gunman “just put some bullets inside”.

35 Responses to “SWATted”

  1. Guav Says:

    Actually, for some reason at the WalMart near me, there’s almost always at least one air rifle out of the box just sitting on the shelf. I’ve encountered it at least 6 times before. I’ve always thought it was strange.

  2. wizardpc Says:

    Charge Ritchie with murder.

  3. rickn8or Says:

    Richie mentioning he was an “ex-marine” should have been a dead giveaway.

    Only fuckups are “ex-marines.” Everyone else is a “former Marine.”

  4. Chas Says:

    Regardless of the babbling of an on-scene witness, police officers have a responsibility to determine the nature of the situation for themselves. They shot an idiot for waving around a BB gun. Not okay. Even idiots have a right to live.
    They should have walked up to him, taken away his BB gun and his cell phone, and kicked his ass for being a fool. Well, at least he’s out of the gene pool, so there’s some compensation for the rest of us.

  5. littlejohn Says:

    911 calls full of BS info are the rule, not the exception. It was either a justified shoot or it wasn’t. Even if the 911 caller had reported that the guy had slaughtered a bunch of people, it still isn’t a justified shoot if the guy isn’t a threat when the officer meets him, so the notion that many are floating that the lying panicky dude is “responsible” for the death is just incorrect. Stay focused on what matters, the shoot was either justified or it wasn’t, regardless of what police knew or thought they knew prior to arrival. stop worrying about the DB who reported it, he is going to get his just by having his time and money wasted defending himself in a civil suit. the caller is only news because the dead guy’s family lawyer wants it to be.

  6. Bob Barker Says:

    “just put some bullets inside”

    Well I hope he remembered to bring a cleaning rod with him because that’s just gonna get stuck.

  7. SteveA Says:

    Yep I hope they definitely charge Ritchie with anything and everything they can.
    You know he is gonna get sued for everything he ever will own.

  8. rd Says:

    Richie has two dead people on his conscience, if he has a conscience. Angela Williams died of a heart attack fleeing the store with her two kids after the shots were fired.

  9. oldradartech Says:

    “And even still, it’s a gun in Walmart, in a public place, inducing panic,” said Ritchie.

    Anyone want to lay odds this was an antigunners’ sick prank gone wrong? Wasn’t this exactly what that Atlanta DJ advocated a few weeks ago ?

  10. Paul Says:

    Yes the ‘ex-Marine’ should be charged with Manslaughter.

    He deliberately caused panic and the very situation that got people killed.

    When you call cops, make sure whatever you are calling them about is TRUE.

    I have no idea why he thought this man was a threat. They should have check him immediately for being on meth or something.

  11. Fin Says:

    So much “fail” in this entire story. Hysteria over a BB gun and a man dies for it, a women dies of a heat attack fleeing and law abiding gun owners continue to foot the bill in the media.

  12. Paul Kisling Says:

    Funny how the attorney General is acting. He says releasing the tape will assure that there would be no fair trial. Those words indicate that something is very wrong.

  13. The_Jack Says:

    Ronald Ritchie’s criminal risk is technically seperate from that of the police.

    Yes the responding police are responsibile for if the shooting is justified.

    However, Ronald is still responsible for making the call. And if premeditation or intent call in a false 911 call is found then that shows severe liability to create a voilent situation.

    Ronald’s laywer better hope that he doesn’t make any more fradulent statements, and he better really, really hope that evidence doesn’t pop up that Ronald was listening to people like that radio host who was advocating swatting people.

  14. Sid Says:

    To those of you being very critical of the police actions in this situation, I ask you respectfully to switch to decaf. The officers did not wander into Walmart that night. They were called there and given faulty information. The suspect did not behave/react appropriately. The gun probably looked fairly realisitic. I don’t think we are talking about a Red Ryder with a compass in the stock. Tragedy, yes. The fault/blame does not belong with the responding police.

  15. Bill Twist Says:

    @Sid: The suspect did not behave/react appropriately.

    OK, so imagine you’re a person doing nothing wrong with zero intent. You’re just shopping. All of a sudden a couple of police officers with guns drawn start yelling at you. By the time your brain adjusts to the sudden assault of sensory overload, several seconds have likely gone by.

    Remember, we’re not talking about someone who knew that the police might be coming after them. This is figuratively a “bolt out of the blue”, completely unexpected.

    I challenge the assumption that ‘behaving/reacting appropriately’ is even humanly possible for many, if not most, people in situations like that.

  16. JKB Says:

    Sid,

    You are correct, the victim was unfortunately killed because he was turning around to show the officer the “not real” toy in his hand, while the officer saw him turn around with a firearm in his hand. (the photo linked to in the earlier post showed the bb gun to be a very realistic replica of an assault rifle).

    This confusion between police and individual happens a lot. The individual knows there is no danger and behaves accordingly. The police rightly perceive a potential danger and act accordingly. Sometimes tragedy ensues. This risk of tragedy goes way up when the police have been primed by false/exaggerated reports from some idiot calling 911. It is what happened in the police killing at the Las Vegas Costco. The Costco “security” employee primed the responders for a big bad. When the guy was surprised by officers in the parking lot, he reacted poorly to confusing commands because he didn’t know he was the big bad.

  17. wizardpc Says:

    There is also the matter of witness statements that the shots came before the commands.

    Not sure how trustworthy those witnesses are, but without the video we’ll never know.

  18. Paul B Says:

    This is full of fail.

    Take away is if you have a cop yelling at you, default assumption is you are the big bad. React accordingly.

  19. KM Says:

    @Sid – They were called there and given faulty information.

    Bad info on a dispatch is so common that it would hardly stand out as unusual. Even if this was a REAL gun, not a BB gun, police don’t have the right to kill you just because you hold one.

    (Dr Robert) Shott did not respond to a message requesting comment. Ritchie, however, said the first shot entered Crawford’s arm from the front after he turned to the officer.

    This fuckstick just doesn’t ever shut up does he?
    It’s the coroner’s office and the forensic/ballistic folks that makes that call meatsack, not the “ex-marine” who caused this hysteria.

  20. Sigivald Says:

    quickly thrown out of the US marine corps in 2008 after being declared a “fraudulent enlistment”, over what he maintains was simply a mixup over his paperwork.

    I’m not an expert, but my impression is that a mere “mixup over paperwork” doesn’t result in being kicked out if they want to keep you.

    I’d love to know what the “mixup” was supposed to have been.

  21. Jim Says:

    This will not stop. It’s that simple.

    As long as the state trains police officer to have a survival mindset they will kill. And the police have been sued for not taking calls seriously.

    Ronald Ritchie should be facing Aggravated Murder.

  22. Tam Says:

    I fervently hope none of the “Well, I would have…” posters in this comments section are ever unfortunate enough to bust a cap in a stickup artist using an Airsoft or pellet pistol, because the discovery process would be a stone cold bitch.

  23. Sid Says:

    KM,

    Actually, they do. They have the right to self defense just like everyone else. Anyone who wants to throw Ritchie in jail is welcome to try. He caused facilitated two deaths. The police were told it was a gun that had been loaded. It appeared to be a real gun and the suspect (in the case victim) did not respond to verbal commands. Tragic. But we all have hindsight to judge. They did not.

    Does anyone honestly think they would have shot him if they had known the gun was not a real firearm? If you do, then you suffer from a bias that I cannot counteract with words or logic.

  24. DocMerlin Says:

    ‘It appeared to be a real gun and the suspect (in the case victim) did not respond to verbal commands. ‘
    – I have seen police claim that, when they told someone to turn around and they did… or when they told someone to do something then the person started to do it, and they were shot anyway.

  25. Patrick Says:

    When is the last time the police failed to release a video that exonerates the police?

    So apparently the victims family was shown some of the video from inside the store, but the last seconds before the shots were not shown. They were scrubbed. From what the family saw, nothing was amiss. Also, the coroner’s report says the victim got hit in the back left arm.

    The DA says not releasing the video is to protect the process of a Grand Jury that will be presented with information on the 22nd. I have not seen him say who he was going to press charges against: the caller, the cop or both.

    I am cynical and have doubt that the cop is going to be held to justice, if he did something wrong. Soft-pedaling to the grand jury would give the cop a clean shoot, and the DA can claim he didn’t look the other way. Or the DA could tag the caller and blame him for killing some guy by making a cop kill him. Or something. Of course, the tape could be so clear cut that the DA is going full-tilt against the cop and doesn’t want anything to screw it up.

    Either way, the DA has enough to put possible charges in front of the grand jury. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    But when he is done, we should see that video and see if those who say this was a bad shoot get vindicated.

  26. Paul Says:

    What gets me is 10 percent of the populace are known to be HARD OF HEARING.

    Easy to see one of them shot cause they ‘didn’t act appropriately.’

  27. Joel Stoner Says:

    The guy should face inciting a riot/panic charges, as well as false police report charges at a minimum. Murder, or manslaughter are possibilities. He will face heavy civil liability, on the death of the woman, and the death of the man.

  28. Heath J Says:

    “ex Marine”

    Shitbag. Cherry on top of that shit sundae. Bad enough his nonsense cause two deaths, without bringing his abortive, failed “almost” military service into it. He never earned that title.

  29. Windy Wilson Says:

    What Joel Stoner said. A lot of tort liability here.

    Certainly the “But for” level of causation is there, as in “but for his 911 call these people would still be alive. The issue comes down on where is liability based on that “but for” causation cut off? Is it foreseeable that making a false 911 report would result in someone being killed by the police? I think so. The fatal heart attack suffered by a bystander, perhaps not. The difficulty is that after the event the lines of causation are direct, straight, true, and so visible that any high school dropout too stupid to avoid jury duty can see them.

    The saying in Torts class was, “On a Clear Day, You can Foresee Forever.”

    One is liable in Tort for the crimes of another if it is foreseeable that the crimes would take place due to the negligence (the breach of the duty of due care) of the defendant. Knowing the neighborhood has a crime problem, a Landlord can be liable for damages caused by a rapist in the apartment complex laundry room, as in one famous case. Richie can be jointly and severally liable for the death, even though the police pulled the trigger.

    The question in my mind, knowing nothing else about this case than what was written here and at the link, is “was the gun out of the box?” How negligent was Richie in believing there was the potential for great harm to bystanders? I am skeptical of many of the arguments for and against each party, knowing as I do that at this stage most of the facts are not so. Argumentum ad foecal fabricatum, to quote Tam.

  30. Windy Wilson Says:

    “just put some bullets inside”
    That’s just so ambiguous, I smell a swatting here.

    That turn of phrase sounds like someone trying to sound unsophisticated in the ways of the gun, so NATURALLY he’d be scared seeing the guy carry a gun around in a store, however he might have actually been carrying it.

  31. M Gallo Says:

    I’m with Tam. For deadly physical force to be used, there need not be a REAL threat, only one that would be perceived as real by a reasonable person under the circumstances surrounding the encounter.

  32. Sid Says:

    And for those of you wondering, fraudulent enlistment (Article 83) is the charge for knowingly concealing an issue that would prevent enlistment. He got caught in a lie. It is not a paperwork mix-up. The enlistee completed a form or questionnaire and failed to disclose information.

    He lied and the USMC kicked him out.

  33. LCB Says:

    So apparently the victims family was shown some of the video from inside the store, but the last seconds before the shots were not shown. They were scrubbed. From what the family saw, nothing was amiss.

    Patrick, That’s not what I’ve read. According to the Cincy Enguirer the family said after viewing the video that he was shot down without warning or at the same moment when they shouted the warning. Now I realize the family isn’t going to be very objective. But the fact that the Ohio Attorney General is hanging on to the video makes me think he doesn’t want to poison the possible jury pool. Also, one officer has been returned to patrol. I’m think only one officer fired…and he may be in a deep world of crap.

  34. Stuart the Viking Says:

    Marine Corp boot camp is 12 weeks, right? It was when I was there. If dude was kicked after 7, he didn’t graduate from boot camp. Ergo, dude is an ex-Recruit at best.

    At 7 weeks, we were still being referred to as Maggots by the Drill Instructors and told that we may one day aspire to be Recruits. We weren’t allowed to call ourselves, or even think of ourselves, as Marines until after we graduated.

    Perhaps this has changed since I was in. Dude still doesn’t deserve to use the name Marine in my book, even if he puts and “Ex” in front of it.

  35. Geodkyt Says:

    Stuart — you’re correct. As far as I know, you aren’t a “Marine” until AFTER the graduation parade. Until then, you are merely a “Recruit”. You could get Chaptered out (say, on a medical) five minutes after graduation, and you’d be a “former Marine” for life. You bolo basic and get kicked out, and you’re not even an “ex-” Marine.

    “Marine” as a title is wholly different from the fact that one is in Marine Corps training.

    Now, the Army will call a recruit “soldier” during IET (Initial Entry Training), but there’s a reason that for all services, IET discharges are *different* than later discharges — IET discharges are generally the military equivalent of an annullment.