Edward Crawford, the man immortalized lobbing a tear gas canister back towards police in an iconic photo from the 2014 protests in Ferguson, MO, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday night.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo was part of the St. Louis newspaper’s coverage of the protests that began after Michael Brown’s death.
Crawford, a 27-year-old father of four, was in a car with two women in the Hyde Park neighborhood of St. Louis, police said. Those women told police he started talking about being depressed before fumbling around for something and shooting himself, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Crawford was charged with assault and interfering with a police officer for allegedly throwing the canister he was photographed with back at police. The St. Louis County District Attorney said he knocked an officer to the ground.
He told the paper after the charges were filed: “I didn’t throw a burning can back at police. I threw it out of the way of children.”
His father said he doesn’t believe the death was a suicide. He said he had just seen his son, who was training for a new warehouse job and had moved into a new apartment, less than two days ago, and he was in good spirits.
“He was wonderful, great, always in a good mood,” he told the paper.
Although police have concluded that the gunshot that ended Crawford’s life was self-inflicted, it’s not clear if it was deliberate or if the gun fired accidentally. The case is being handled by detectives, not homicide investigators.
Crawford’s death sparked an outpouring of support from local officials and members of the community.