AKRON, Ohio — It’s been more than a week since 18-year-old Na’Kia Crawford was shot and killed while inside her car with her grandmother at an Akron intersection. Her family, visibly pained, gathered inside the House of Prayer For All People Church on Monday morning to urge the suspected killer, 17-year-old Adarus Black, to surrender, while also denouncing the lawyer who said he was representing them.
Family members expressed their love of Crawford, her sweet nature, and thanked the public and law enforcement for support. Later, when asked about civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and last week announced he was representing Na'Kia's family, her parents said Crump distanced himself from their quest for justice when authorities announced the alleged killer wasn’t white. They called him a "fake."
“He's been basically after the publicity," Na'Kia's father, Nick Crawford, said. "He set this up and he bailed on us, on this conference we're having right now."
Crump issued the following statement after the news conference.
"My heart goes out to Na' kia Crawford’s family, who endure the ultimate grief in losing a precious child. After learning of this tragedy, my firm offered our support to ensure that identifying Na' kia's killer was treated as a top priority. Based upon testimony from several witnesses suggesting the killer was white, we immediately started the process of advocating for a federal hate crime investigation. As we now know that her killers have been identified as Black, it's clear her murder does not meet the definition of a hate crime and a DOJ investigation is not warranted. This fact does not change my passion to support her family through their grief. I will continue to lend my voice to see that her killers are brought to justice and to urge local authorities to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."
The family was accompanied at the press conference by pastor R. Stacey Jenkins of the House of Prayer For All People Church.
Nick Crawford addressed the alleged killer directly.
“Your life is over. Your life is over as you know it,” Nick Crawford said. “So you might as well turn yourself in. You can't do nothing that you thought you can do. You might as well turn yourself in instead of living a nightmare that you live in right now. Turn yourself in. The police are watching, the streets watching you, you will be found, so you might as well just get it over with."
They said their daughter didn’t know the alleged shooter but are questioning why, if it was a case of mistaken identity, which police believe, she was shot more than once.
“If it's a mistaken identity, you're not gonna shoot nobody more than once. When you know that you shot the wrong person, you're not gonna continue to shoot. You're not,” said her mother, Lisette Williams.
In the beginning of the investigation into her death, rumors on social media suggested race was a factor in her death.
“It's not a black and white issue,” said Na’Kia’s stepmother, Shaquita Crawford. "It's a matter of somebody did this to Kiki, and she didn't deserve it. It's not a black and white issue. It never mattered if it was a white man or a black man. It never mattered. We just want to appeal to our community to let them know that we shouldn't shield him. It doesn't matter if he was white or black. He took an innocent life.”
The family said while they are appreciative of the support from the community and for the media coverage, they are asking for space as they cope with their grief. There will be a public viewing on Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Word Church. They ask that anyone who attends to properly social distance.
“They're hurting. They have valid reasons. Keep lifting them up. If there's anything you can do to donate, to give, to help in support of them, anything that they do, we're asking. And we're open to all the public and all the community," said Pastor Jenkins.
Find more continuing coverage of Na'Kia Crawford's death here.