BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) — While the focus regarding the Beavercreek Walmart is on Monday night’s shooting that left four injured and the gunman dead, it wasn’t the first time the store at 3660 Pentagon Blvd. had been thrust into the spotlight.
Recently, a fire started by suspected arson forced the store to evacuate on Nov. 7. Beavercreek first responders responded to a call about a fire in the Beavercreek Walmart. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found flames and smoke in one of the craft section displays.
“The fire department responded very quickly, and the fire was contained by the sprinkler system inside Walmart and subsequently the fire department put that out pretty quickly,” said Scott Molnar, captain of Beavercreek Police Department.
A 15-year-old was arrested the following day. The teen faces the following charges:
- 1 count of Aggravated Arson
- 1 count of Vandalism, a felony
- 1 count of Inducing Panic
“Evidence has shown that the juvenile in custody acted alone in setting the fire,” the Beavercreek Fire Department said in a release at the time. Beavercreek police reportedly do not believe anyone else was involved in the fire.
The Death of John Crawford III
More tragic was the Aug. 5, 2014, death of John Crawford III, who was shot and killed by a Beavercreek officer at the Walmart.
A 911 caller told dispatch that someone in the store had a rifle. When officers arrived at the scene, one shot and killed Crawford after seeing him carrying what appeared to be a weapon, which turned out to be a pellet gun he had found in the store.
In May 2020, the city of Beavercreek agreed to settle with Crawford’s family for $1.7 million. A wrongful death suit against Walmart was dismissed by a judge, but revived on appeal in November 2022.
Two judges concluded “a reasonable jury could find that Walmart failed to prevent Crawford from carrying a look-alike AR-15 openly around the store,” which could alarm shoppers, confuse police and cause an officer to respond as though the weapon were real.