HUNTSVILLE, Ala – What caused Huntsville police officers to show up at the Stadium Apartment complex Thursday morning? The encounter that followed resulted in officers firing multiple shots that killed Crystal Ragland.
WHNT News 19 has received accounts of Ragland’s behavior from her neighbors that differ from the narrative provided by the Huntsville Police Department.
Police say they received a call that Ragland, 32, was waving a gun at her neighbors. WHNT News 19 has learned the manager on duty at Stadium Apartments placed a 911 call. However, some residents who live there told us they didn’t see Ragland waving a gun before police arrived. We went to find the apartment manager Friday to find out why he called the police. WHNT was told he was out of town. The Huntsville Police Department did not respond to our questions Friday regarding the 911 calls, specifically, if anyone else called police with a similar story.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by a relative of Ragland, she was an Army veteran who had been diagnosed with PTSD and schizophrenia.
Ellis McCraw lives across the street from where Ragland lived. He said he witnessed the officer-involved shooting on Thursday. McCraw says he was sitting outside on his porch when the shooting took place. He tells us Ragland was a quiet neighbor who mostly kept to herself.
“She was in the window every morning just like I’m out here watering my plants,” he said.
He says he didn’t know her well but is saddened by her death.
“She was real quiet. She would come to her mailbox, and go right back to her door, and close it,” he said.
Wednesday, the day before the shooting, he says saw her walking around the complex.
“And she was cussing at somebody, but I didn’t see nobody,” he said. “I didn’t feel threatened at all. I said ‘OK, I’m just going to watch her’ because she was mad.”
A man who lived across the hall from Ragland, who did not want to be interviewed on camera, says lately it seemed that her mental health had deteriorated. He said that Wednesday Ragland seemed especially upset, telling him, ‘They wouldn’t help me, they wouldn’t help me.’ The neighbor believes she was talking about the VA, which provides aid and care to military veterans.
Police say Ragland had a gun and did not follow officer commands. Huntsville investigators say they took a gun that belonged to Ragland from the scene. However, police haven’t said what type of gun it is.
The two officers who fired at Ragland are currently on administrative duty while a shooting review board investigates the shooting.