Police: Man killed 2 women, 3 children

March 6, 2009 11:56:56 AM PST
Special police teams and a helicopter were searching Friday for an ex-convict who is suspected of killing his wife, his sister-in-law and her three young children. The man "made it clear he's not going back to prison," an official said. At a news conference Friday, police said they were following leads but had not located 33-year-old Davon Crawford. He was freed in 2007 after serving separate prison terms for voluntary manslaughter and felony assault involving domestic violence.

His wife, Lechea, was among those killed in their house Thursday night. Police say a 2-month-old baby found unharmed in the home is believed to be theirs. A relative said the Crawfords 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 has 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.

Asked Friday about the danger to the public, Mayor Frank Jackson said, "I think parents should watch over their children, but I don't think there should be any alarm that they are unsafe. But this is a man who is probably desperate. He's running. But he's more concerned about police."

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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