- The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2009

UPDATED:

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police say a man suspected of murdering his wife, his sister-in-law and three young children has killed himself after being confronted by police.

Cleveland police Lt. Thomas Stacho (STAK’-oh) says 33-year-old Davon Crawford shot himself in the head Friday afternoon while holed up in a bathroom at a house believed to be the home of a relative.

Stacho says authorities surrounded the home and forced their way through the front door.

Crawford’s wife, Lechea, was among those killed in the couple’s home Thursday night. The other victims killed were Lechea Crawford’s 25-year-old sister Rose Stevens and Stevens’ three children: 4-year-old Destiny Woods and 2-year-old twins Dion and Davion Primm.

Special police teams and a helicopter had been searching for Crawford. He had “made it clear he’s not going back to prison,” an official said.

At a news conference Friday, police said they were following leads in their efforts to find him. He was freed in 2007 after serving separate prison terms for voluntary manslaughter and felony assault involving domestic violence.

Police say a 2-month-old baby found unharmed in the home is believed to be the Crawfords. A relative said the couple had just married.

The other victims killed were Lechea Crawford’s sister Rose Stevens, and Stevens’ three children: 4-year-old Destiny Woods and 2-year-old twins Dion and Davion Primm.

A fifth child was wounded and was being treated at a hospital, while an older boy around 12 or 13 who was shot at but managed to flee unharmed and call 911, officials said.

A police helicopter assisted in the search and authorities were checking transit system buses. SWAT teams were on hand in case they were needed to help in an arrest.

“He’s made it clear he’s not going back to prison,” Lt. Tom Stacho said at a midday briefing. “We don’t know if that mean’s he’s going to kill himself, or go out fighting, or keep running. He expressed that to family members and friends.”

Police Chief Michael McGrath said it appears that some sort of domestic argument sparked the shootings, which he called “one of the worst multiple shootings that I’ve seen in a long time.”

Crawford was convicted in 1995 of voluntary manslaughter, according to prison records. He was released from prison in 2000 and sent back in 2002 on a felonious assault conviction involving domestic violence, according to prison records. He was freed again in 2007.

No information was given out on the condition of the hospitalized child, and authorities said they were still sorting out the relationships of the victims and survivors.

In an Associated Press interview, Lamar Arnold said Crawford and his daughter had just been married.

Arnold said his daughter had sent him an unusual cell phone text message at 7:47 p.m. Thursday saying “Call me, live your life, love it.”

“Then I tried to call her about 12 times, and there never was an answer,” he said.

Police said there were two rental units in the house, and all the victims were killed in the upstairs apartment. The building is on a tree-lined street of older, mostly two-story frame houses and some apartment buildings.

India Cobb told WJW-TV she saw Crawford, whom she identified as a cousin, earlier Thursday and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

“It didn’t seem anything was wrong or anything like that,” Cobb said. “He just got married … He just had a baby girl. I don’t understand what went wrong. I don’t know what happened. I’m still trying to find out myself.”

While on parole, which ended last year, Crawford passed several urine tests for drugs, paid his child support, had a full-time job and no run-ins with authorities, according to Andrea Carson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.


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