UPDATED at 9 a.m. with additional detail about the 
shooting, background
ST. LOUIS • Edward Crawford, the man featured in a
 Ferguson protest photograph throwing a tear gas
 canister back toward police, was found dead
overnight, his father said. Police say it appears
 the death was from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Crawford's father, Edward Sr., confirmed his son's
 death to the Post-Dispatch. He said his son's
mother called him and they went together to the
morgue early Friday to identify their son's body.
Crawford Sr. was in tears Friday as he spoke with
a reporter.
Police have not released the victim's name. But
a detective confirmed the shooting, saying it was
reported in the 1400 block of Salisbury Street, in
 the city's Hyde Park neighborhood. 
He was in a car when the gun went off. Two
 women were in the car with him, police say. The
 women told police that Crawford had started talking
about how depressed he was. They heard him
 fumbling around for something, and the next
 thing they knew he shot himself.
Crawford's father, 52, said he believes it was an
 accidental shooting, not intentional. "I don't believe
 it was a suicide,"  he said. He said investigators
weren't saying much to him yet. "They're being
 hush-hush," the father said.
While police say it was self-inflicted, they say that
doesn't conclude if the victim shot himself on purpose
 or if the gun discharged accidentally. The case is
 being handled by district detectives, not homicide
Edward Crawford found instant fame after coming forward as the
 man in the photograph of a protester lobbing a tear gas canister.
 Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com
Edward Crawford Sr. said he last saw his son two
days ago; he was in good spirits, certainly not suicidal.
"He was wonderful, great, always in a good mood,"
 the father said. "He just got a new apartment and
was training for a new job."
He said his son was training for a job at a Schnucks
The younger Crawford, 27, of University City, was the
 father of four children. "He loved them to death,"
Crawford Sr. said.
In 2014, during the Ferguson protests, Crawford
grabbed a smoking tear gas cylinder, fired by police
 at Ferguson protesters, and threw it back. In a
photograph taken by Post-Dispatch photographer
Robert Cohen, Crawford became an iconic image
of the protests along West Florissant Avenue.
Crawford found instant fame after coming forward
 as the man in the photograph.
The incident was part of protests on Aug. 12-13, 2014,
 near Chambers Road. The photograph was part of
the Post-Dispatch's coverage that won the Pulitzer
 Prize for breaking news photography in 2015.
For many, the act bottled up all the anger directed
at police after the shooting of unarmed black teen
Michael Brown. It represented defiance against
police aggression. He told the Post-Dispatch that
throwing the canister wasn’t an act of rebellion, but
an instinct.
“I didn’t throw a burning can back at police,” Crawford
 told the newspaper in August 2015, after the 
county counselor's office cited Crawford under
 two county ordinances for interfering with a police
 officer and assault. “I threw it out of the way
 of children.”
The case is pending. A court date is set for later
 this month, County Counselor Peter Krane said.
After learning of his death Friday morning, Missouri
 Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City,
reflected on social media about what he had meant.
"He is #Ferguson's hero," the senator wrote on
 her Twitter account. "For those of us tear-gassed,
 he was our local champion."

Edward Crawford is dead. Found in his car shot to

death. He is 's hero. For those of us

tear-gassed, he was our local champion. RIP
Christine Byers of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed 
to this report.