In our image-driven culture, sometimes it just takes one iconic picture going viral to capture the spirit of a movement. For the Ferguson protests following the death of Michael Brown, that picture was of Edward Crawford, Jr. The young man was seen deflecting a tear gas canister away from protestors while wearing a shirt with the American flag. See below:
Sadly, that picture is now all we have to remember Edward by, as yesterday he was pronounced dead at the age of 27.
On Thursday evening, Crawford was found in his car with what appeared to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the medical examiner’s office labeled Crawford’s death a suicide.
A police summary reports that Crawford was in the car with two women when the gun went off. The women told police that Crawford started expressing how depressed he was. They allegedly heard him rummaging around for something, when suddenly he shot himself.
Crawford’s father, 52, thinks the shooting was accidental and not intentional. “I don’t believe it was a suicide,” he said. His father say investigators have yet to reveal more details, and that “they’re being hush-hush.” He stressed that he doesn’t believe his son was suicidal: “He was wonderful, great, always in a good mood. He just got a new apartment and was training for a new job.”
Crawford was 27 years old and left four children behind. You can watch him reflect on his famous Ferguson image below. “This attention that we’re getting, I just hope that we turn it into something positive,” he said. “With the attention, I hope our voices are heard and I hope our pain is felt by America.”