A Ferguson protester seen hurling a police tear gas canister in a famous 2014 photo has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The father of 26-year-old Edward Crawford confirmed he died Thursday, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to St. Louis police, a man was in a car with two women when he told them he was distraught about personal matters. The women said they then heard him fumbling, followed by a gunshot. Police say the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot, though Crawford's father believes the shooting was accidental, rather than a suicide. Crawford loved his four kids, "was training for a new job," and was "always in a good mood," he says. The official cause of death is pending.
Crawford was to appear in court later this year to face charges of assault and interfering with a police officer after he admitted he was the man seen throwing a tear gas canister in the direction of police in an August 2014 photo taken by Post-Dispatch photographer Robert Cohen. The photo, snapped during protests in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, helped win the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize and became a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement, showing up on T-shirts and posters, notes Vibe. Police said the canister made "physical contact with (an officer), causing him to be knocked to the ground," and that Crawford repeatedly ignored officers' instructions, per the Post-Dispatch. "I didn't throw a burning can back at police," Crawford later said in his defense. "I threw it out of the way of children." (Read more Missouri stories.)