- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2014

Dozens of open-carry activists descended on an Ohio Wal-Mart store on Sunday to protest where police fatally shot a man who was holding a pellet gun.

About 40 gun-toting demonstrators gathered in front of the Beavercreek Wal-Mart to protest the Aug. 5 police shooting of 22-year-old John Crawford III, Raw Story reported.

Protesters held signs outside that read “I am John Crawford” and “Serve and Protect. Not Serve to Kill.” Some protesters reportedly carried their weapons inside the Wal-Mart store.

The fatal shooting by a white police officer is under investigation by the Department of Justice to determine whether the officer violated the civil rights of Crawford, who is black.

A shopper had spotted Crawford carrying an unboxed air pellet rifle and called 911 to report a possible threat. Police said Crawford was shot after not responding to commands to drop his weapon.

A grand jury declined last month to charge the officer who killed Crawford.

Demonstrators said Sunday that they want to remind police officers that the open carry of firearms is legal in Ohio.

“The whole point of this is to be a peaceful protest and educate people that Ohio is an open-carry state, and a man was killed while open-carrying a gun inside the Wal-Mart,” a protester who wished to remain anonymous told a local NBC affiliate.

A Facebook page promoting the rally asked participants to bring their favorite weapon but urged them not to chamber any rounds to “to minimize risk of accidental discharge and maximize safety,” Raw Story reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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