BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – Fairborn Municipal Court Judge Beth Root has decided that there is probable cause to prosecute Ronald T. Ritchie in relation to the shooting death of John Crawford III.READ MORE: Crawford’s parents want accountability
Crawford was shot by police in an aisle of the Beavercreek Walmart on August 5, 2014. He was holding a BB gun at the time. Ritchie was the 911 caller that night.
Nine citizens filled out affidavits — that were delivered to the court on March 25. Judge Root found in those affidavits that probable cause does exist to prosecute Ritchie for the accusation of making false alarms — a first-degree misdemeanor.
The names of the nine people who filed the affidavits are a matter of public record and can be accessed by the public at any time on the court’s website.
The nine are: Roy Qualls; Matthew Raska; Alice Diebel, Kevin Jackson, Lynn Buffington; Jessica Thomas; Mary Gentile; Enoch Fannin and Michael Casselli Jr. All but one of those who filed the affidavits live in Yellow Springs. The other lives in Fairborn.
The affidavits that were submitted questioned whether or not there was enough to prosecute him on charges related to inducing violence, inducing panic, involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide — all of which were dismissed as not having enough probable cause.
Michael Wright, the attorney for the Crawford family, said the judge’s ruling brought some comfort. However, he said it was not Ritchie’s fault police opened fire.
“Ultimately, we believe that it was the police department’s responsibility to come and assess the situation,” said Wright.
Wright’s office is continuing it’s lawsuit against Walmart, the Beavercreek Police Department, and officers David Darkow and Sean Williams.READ MORE: Events mark 1 year since deadly Walmart shooting
The following call came into Beavercreek’s 911 dispatch center.
“…there is a man walking around in the store with a gun waving and pointing at people.” The dispatcher asked, “What does he look like?” To which the caller answers, “Black male about 6 feet tall…”
Ronald Ritchie was inside the Beavercreek Walmart. He made this call to 911 after seeing Crawford. Attempts to contact Ronald Ritchie for comment were unsuccessful.