First: I lay no blame at all on either Mr. Crawford or the Officers responding the call. Both were caught by circumstances not of their making. I do lay blame on Ronald Ritchie, the 911 caller who gave exaggerated descriptions of what Mr. Crawford was doing to the 911 operator and that snowballed into the shooting. Again, that is my particular opinion.
Second: Comments are closed for this post to avoid unnecessary flames & trolling.
Setting the stage:
What information is available to the officers responding? Man with a rifle, possible active shooter at the local WalMart. The suspect was seen waving the rifle, loading it and pointing it to the customers. Victims unknown. Reports from the 911 caller still coming in, story does not change. On arrival, they see a man fitting the description given and he is indeed armed with a rifle.
So, for all intents and purposes, the officers are about to face somebody with a rifle and this person apparently has no regard for the safety of the people or is directly threatening them. Failure to act in a decisive matter may result in casualties. That is not acceptable.
Here is the sequence via captures from the synced video.
From officers arriving to the end of the aisle to officer securing the rifle, time elapsed is 12 seconds. Not a whole lot of time, but this was not a situation to be screwing around. Again, with the information available to the officers at that time, the shooting is legally justified in my opinion. It is a bad shooting in the sense that there was no real threat, but that not to be known until after the dust settled.