An Ohio judge said on Wednesday the man who called 911 to report what he thought was a person pointing a real gun at people in a store could face charges after police fatally shot the suspect.
Ronald T. Ritchie was at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio on Aug. 5, 2014 when he spotted a man, later identified as John Crawford III, 22, with what he told dispatchers was a gun.
“There is a gentleman walking around with a gun in the store,” Ritchie is heard telling the dispatcher in the video.
“Does he got it pulled out?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yeah, he’s like pointing it at people,” Ritchie replied.
He was the only person to call 911 that night.
Police arrived to the scene and fatally shot Crawford, only to realize the weapon the victim had was a BB gun taken from a shelf of the store.
According to WDTN News, Crawford did not drop the weapon when police asked him to.
Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth Root said on April 6 there is probable cause to charge Ritchie with making false alarms. If convicted, Ritchie could face up to six months in jail and be fined $1,000.
The lawyer for the Crawford family said the judge’s actions bring comfort, however, Ritchie was not the one who pulled the trigger.
“Ultimately, we believe that it was the police department’s responsibility to come and assess the situation,” said Michael Wright to WDTN.
The officers involved in the shooting of Crawford, David Darkow and Sean Williams, were not indicted.
Another shopper in Walmart during the event, Angela Williams, 37, died from health complications while trying to protect her children.