Edward Crawford, the St. Louis resident widely known for an iconic photo epitomizing the 2014 Ferguson protest, has died.
NBC News reports that Crawford’s death was confirmed to the media outlet by the St. Louis Office of the Medical Examiner. In the viral image, Crawford is shown throwing a flaming tear gas canister during the months of unrest that followed the police-involved shooting death of 18-year-old Mike Brown.
— MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) May 5, 2017
Crawford was pronounced dead shortly before midnight Thursday. His body was found at 1435 Salisbury Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
Witnesses reportedly told police that Crawford shot himself in the backseat of a car as it was moving. The two witnesses say they were seated in the front of the vehicle at the time of incident.
“The victim began expressing he was distraught over personal matters to the witnesses,” said the police department’s Public Information Officer Leah Freeman. “The witnesses heard the victim rummaging in the backseat, then heard a gunshot and observed the victim had sustained a gunshot wound to the head.”
Crawford was pronounced dead at the scene. While the incident was initially declared a suicide, an investigation is ongoing. Crawford, 27, was a father of four. His father, Edward Crawford Sr., told officials he had just got an apartment and was training for a new job.
“I don’t believe it was a suicide,” Crawford Sr. told the St. Louis Post Dispatch Friday morning.
Crawford isn’t the first Ferguson protester to be found dead from apparent gunfire.
In Sept. 2016, Activist Darren Seals’ lifeless body was found inside of a burning vehicle. He had been shot and police declared his death a homicide.