3 officers on leave after fatal shooting


Three Annapolis police officers have been placed on routine administrative leave pending the investigation into the fatal shooting of a 76-year-old man Sunday night, a spokesman for the department said.

Willie Crawford, who lived in the 200 block of Bowie Ave., was shot at least three times by officers after he pointed a 10-gauge shotgun at them shortly after 9 p.m., said Officer Shelley White, the department's spokesman.

Mr. Crawford died after nearly 2 1/2 hours of surgery at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Officer White said.

Police say the elderly victim may have been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The department will not release the names of the three officers involved in the shooting until the investigation is completed, Officer White said.

Although the shooting will be reviewed by the state's attorney's office, "The chief is convinced there is no wrongdoing," Officer White said.

The three officers went to Mr. Crawford's home after police received an anonymous call about a man with a gun, Officer White said.

Mr. Crawford went out a side door of his house armed with a shotgun. The officers ordered him "several times" to put the gun down.

Instead, he pointed it at the officers, who fired in self-defense, Officer White said.

Mr. Crawford "appears to have been hit in the upper arm area," Officer White said, who cautioned that the department is awaiting a report from the state medical examiner.

Despite his wounds, Mr. Crawford went back inside. About an hour later, members of the department's tactical team used a battering ram to smash in a door. Mr. Crawford was arrested in his bathroom after a struggle with officers, police said.

Police do not know if Mr. Crawford's shotgun was loaded, Officer White said.

The victim was flown by state police helicopter to Shock Trauma. Viola Crawford, his wife, was in the house and was not harmed, Officer White said.

Acting police Chief Joseph S. Johnson had his officers talk to neighbors to explain the reason for the shooting.

"We get conflict and confusion when people don't know what's going on," the acting chief said.

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