Fatal shooting by police is labeled self-defense

October 28, 1994

The state's attorney's office has ruled that three Annapolis police officers were acting in self-defense last month when they shot and killed a 75-year-old city man with Alzheimer's disease.

The decision all but rules out criminal charges against the HTC department, but a lawyer for the slain man's relatives said the family still might pursue civil charges.

The case concerns Willie Crawford, 75, who was shot twice by officers after he pointed a 10-gauge shotgun at them outside his house on Bowie Avenue on the evening of Sept. 19, police said.

County prosecutors reviewed the case for two weeks before issuing their ruling Wednesday, said Deputy State's Attorney William Roessler.

"We spent a few hours going over reports, photographs, graphs" supplied by the Police Department, he said, and conducted interviews with Mr. Crawford's family, the family's lawyer and witnesses to the incident.

An internal police probe also found that the officers followed proper procedure, said Officer Shelley White, a spokesman for the department.

Officer White said he did not know when the three officers, whose names have not been made public, would be taken off administrative duty. The officers were removed from active duty during the investigation, which is standard procedure in such cases, he said.

The Crawford family plans to meet with police officials to discuss the department's internal investigation. Mary Weidner, an attorney representing the family, said the relatives have lingering questions.

"We need some more concrete answers on what happened and why," she said.

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