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Suspect In Killing Of 5 Takes Own Life

An undated photo of 33-year-old Davon Crawford, who police say shot his wife and five children, killing five of his six victims, on March 5, 2009.
AP/Cleveland PD via Plain Dealer
A man suspected of killing his newlywed wife, his sister-in-law and three young children killed himself Friday after police forced their way into the home he had fled to and found him hiding in the bathroom, authorities said.

Across the street from the home where Davon Crawford shot himself in the head, several dozen people lined up behind yellow police tape and cheered as a sheet-covered stretcher was removed from the house.

Crawford's wife, Lechea, was killed about four miles away in the couple's home Thursday night, along with her sister and the sister's 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old twins. Another child was wounded.

A relative said the Crawfords had recently married, and police said a 2-month-old baby found unharmed in the home is believed to be theirs.

On Friday, SWAT teams had set up surveillance on a two-story red-and-yellow wood frame in a densely populated Cleveland neighborhood after receiving information that Davon Crawford, 33, might be inside, police Lt. Thomas Stacho said. Shortly thereafter, authorities saw a man matching Crawford's description at the house, and authorities forced their way through the front door, he said.

Police conducted a room-by-room search to find Crawford, Stacho said.

"There was no standoff," Stacho said. "As they confronted him, he shot himself."

Stacho said an unidentified woman was found in another part of the home where Crawford killed himself, but police did not release any information about her connection to Crawford.

Police Chief Michael McGrath said it appears that some sort of domestic argument sparked Thursday's shootings, which he called "one of the worst multiple shootings that I've seen in a long time."

Crawford has convicted in 1995 of voluntary manslaughter, according to prison records. He was released from prison in 2000 and sent back in 2002 on a felonious assault conviction involving domestic violence, according to prison records. He was freed again in 2007.

Killed Thursday were Lechea Crawford, 30, her 25-year-old sister, Rose Stevens, and Stevens' three children: Destanee Woods and twins Dion and Davion Primm.

A 7-year-old was wounded and was being treated at MetroHealth Medical Center; the child's name and condition were withheld at the family's request.

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
(Police investigate a multiple-shooting at a home on West 89th St. in Cleveland early Friday morning, March 6, 2009. )

Two other boys in the house, ages 12 and 13, managed to flee unharmed and one called 911, officials said.

One of the boys who escaped told CBS affiliate WOIO-TV that his father was upset over failing a drug test and did not want to go back to prison. An argument ensued with family members and then gunfire erupted.

In an Associated Press interview, Lechea Crawford's father, Lamar Arnold said she and Davon Crawford had recently gotten married.

Arnold said his daughter had sent him an unusual cell phone text message at 7:47 p.m. Thursday: "Call me, live your life, love it."

"Then I tried to call her about 12 times, and there never was an answer," he said.

Police said there were two rental units in the house, and all the victims were killed in the upstairs apartment. The home is on a tree-lined street of older, mostly two-story frame houses and some apartment buildings.

There was a growing memorial of more than one dozen stuffed animals on the front steps of the house Friday, and dozens gathered for a candlelight vigil and rally as night fell.

George Julien, 44, who lives across the street, said he was stunned and upset at the shootings.

"I'm almost paralyzed. I'm almost not able to move right now," he said, sitting on his porch.

While on parole, which ended last year, Crawford passed several urine tests for drugs, paid his child support, had a full-time job and no run-ins with authorities, according to Andrea Carson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement Friday that he hopes the family will find comfort in the fact that the suspect is off the streets.