Local News

Durham Father Charged in Childrens' Shooting

Posted March 7, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— Monday, after three weeks of investigation, Durham police arrested Ricardo "Eric" Crutchfield Sr. in the shooting of his two children, one fatally, on Feb. 15.

He is charged with first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and is being held at the Durham County jail without bond.

Briana Crutchfield, 6, died of her wounds. Her brother, 9-year-old Ricardo Crutchfield Jr, survived the shooting, which occurred in their father's home.

After the father turned himself in, his attorney, Ann Loflin, said "everything I know about the case of what he said to police was that he is not guilty."

While the news is tough for the family, the police chief says things should be easier for the public.

"It will in fact give some relief to the community. We never felt good about any aspect of the case. We've lost an innocent child's life, but we are confident that we have the right suspect. The community can rest more comfortably to know that it was not a stranger to stranger homicide," said Chief Teresa Chambers.

Crutchfield and the children's mother were estranged and lived separately.

Their father was discovered an hour after the shootings were reported to police. He was in a crawl space under his home and had two gunshot wounds to his chest. Crutchfield told police he had been a victim of an attack.

Police say the mother called to ask about picking up the kids, and the boy told her he had been beaten and that his sister was bleeding. The mother rushed over and found her two children shot in an upstairs bedroom.

After several days in a local hospital, Ricardo Jr went home in a wheelchair.