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Na'Kia Crawford's family feels closer to justice with arrest 20 months after Akron homicide

Accused man found in Georgia with a loaded AK-47
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Posted at 6:28 PM, Feb 09, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — For 20 months, the family of 18-year-old Na'Kia Crawford has struggled with feelings of devastation, frustration, anxiety and fear as they waited and waited for the man suspected of killing Na'Kia to be captured.

"It has been torture. It has been agonizing," said her father, Nicholas Crawford. "You kind of figure it's gonna eventually come to an end, but you just don't know when."

On Tuesday evening, the family finally got a step closer to justice when they got word that Adarus Black, 19, was arrested after a traffic stop in Atlanta. According to police, Black had been on the run and in hiding since the Akron killing in the summer of 2020.

Adarus Black

Black, who was 17 at the time of the high-profile homicide, was tracked in Georgia by the U.S. Marshal's Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force along with the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Sandy Springs Police Department's SWAT Team.

Nicholas Crawford was eating dinner when a childhood friend called and asked him if he had heard the news. A short time later, Crawford started receiving alerts on his phone about the arrest. He also received a call from law enforcement confirming the news.

"It's bittersweet. I mean, you're happy, but you're not because it's still a loss. My daughter is still gone."

According to U.S Marshal Pete Elliott, Black left an apartment building and was followed by police. During a traffic stop, Black was taken into custody and he had a loaded AK-47 with him, Elliott said.

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Investigators said Black was living in Atlanta under a fake name and had a bogus California driver's license.

The discovery of the assault weapon was disturbing, but not surprising to R. Stacey Jenkins, the family pastor from House of Prayer for all People Church.

"To have an AK-47 means that he wasn't even worried about the murder," Jenkins said. "He was willing, able, and determined to kill again."

According to Elliott, there were multiple tips on Black over the last year-and-a-half and leads were followed in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee.

Na'Kia Crawford's paternal grandmother, Saria Crawford, is among several relatives convinced that Black had help from adults while avoiding law enforcement.

"He had to get the money from somewhere. Shame on the people that enabled him," she said.

In June 2020, Na'Kia was shot in broad daylight at the corner of North Howard Street and North Street while driving her maternal grandmother home from the bank.

Akron police said Black fired shots from a car and into the wrong vehicle, killing an innocent victim. Investigators have not said who the intended victim could have been.

The crime shocked and outraged the community as loved ones shared personal stories about Na'Kia, remembered as a kind, intelligent young woman who planned to study computer technology at Central State University.

"Whenever something happened to me, she was always there even as a toddler. It was like she would appear to pull me out of a dark place," Saria Crawford said.

Because of his age at the time of the deadly shooting, the murder warrant was issued out of Summit County Juvenile Court.

According to a spokesman for the Summit County Prosecutor's Office, a hearing will be eventually be held to determine if Black should stand trial as an adult.

For now, he remains in Georgia awaiting extradition back to Ohio, Elliott said.

Two other people were facing charges for obstructing justice in connection with Na'Kia's death, but those charges were dismissed because prosecutors didn't think the case was ready to be presented to a grand jury based on "the unknown whereabouts of the principal offender" at the time.

Prosecutors did not comment when asked if charges could be re-filed against the two former co-defendants.

Relatives and Jenkins said they are grateful to law enforcement and for the support from the community over their heartbreaking loss. To them, Black's arrest is part of the road towards justice, but it's not closure.

"Justice means you would give back that which was taken or that which was lost," Jenkins said. "We can never get this young lady back and I think that's what hurts the most."

RELATED: 19-year-old arrested nearly 2 years after Na'Kia Crawford's death