Edward Crawford, the subject of an iconic photo taken during the Ferguson, Mo. riots protesting police brutality, died in St. Louis from what police say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
— MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) May 5, 2017
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the manner of Crawford’s death is still being investigated, as it is possible that the gun discharged accidentally. Crawford’s father, Edward Sr., says he does not believe his son committed suicide.
“He was wonderful, great, always in a good mood,” the father said. “He just got a new apartment and was training for a new job.”
Crawford, who was 27, earned national attention after coming forward as the man photographed throwing a tear gas container during the protests in Ferguson in August 2014. The protests were in response to the police-involved shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown earlier in the week.
Crawford claimed his action wasn’t meant as a threat against officers.
“I didn’t throw a burning can back at police,” he said after being cited for interfering with a police officer and assault in August 2015. “I threw it out of the way of children.”
News of Crawford’s death spread on social media, with several users praising his actions saving children during the protests.
Edward Crawford throwing that tear gas canister away from kids will forever be an iconic image of this generation of resistance
— ¡NEW SHAOLIN-SOLO! (@SoloExMachina) May 5, 2017
— MORGAN JAEL (@wholovesmo) May 5, 2017
OMG, Rest In Power Edward Crawford. He was moving the tear gas away from kids in that photo.
— Sad Brad Pitt (@PutinistaJonez) May 5, 2017
An article from The Root stated, “Our deepest condolences go out to Crawford’s family and friends, the Ferguson protesters, and the entire Movement for Black Lives community. May truth and justice always prevail.”