Edward Crawford, the protestor captured in an iconic photograph hurling a tear gas canister during the Ferguson protests in 2014, has died, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has reported. He was 27.
Crawford's father Edward Sr. told the Post-Dispatch that he died of a gunshot wound, which police are treating as self-inflicted. Crawford Sr. told the newspaper that his son had been in "good spirits," recently, and was in the midst of training for a new job and moving in to a new apartment.
The photograph, shot by Robert Cohen, became one of the defining documents of the Ferguson protests, which erupted in the St. Louis suburb after a grand jury declined to charge Officer Darren Wilson with a crime in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
Edward Crawford stepped forward as the photo's subject as it began circulating around the world. “I didn’t throw a burning can back at police, I threw it out of the way of children," Crawford told the Post-Dispatch in August 2015. He was cited for interfering with a police officer and assault.
Crawford is the second high-profile Ferguson protestors to be found dead of gunshot wounds in recent months. Darren Seals, a well-known activist in the community, was found shot dead in a burning car on September 2016. His case remains unsolved. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a member of the Missouri Senate, tweeted her belief that Ferguson protestors are being hunted.
Soon after his death, The Daily Beast reported that Seals was the sixth man in two years to be found gunned down inside a burning vehicle..
Robert Cohen remembered Crawford's spirit of comradery during the protests. "Will never forget Ed 'Skeeda' Crawford coming to my aid in #Ferguson after getting pepper sprayed after the anniv of #MikeBrown's death," he wrote on Twitter.
Thumbnail photo by Robert Cohen