Riverside, CA Grenade Accident, Sept 1970

Third youth dies

Riverside (AP) – David CRAWFORD, 13, died today of wounds suffered Thursday in a grenade explosion. Two playmates, Bobby Lee EWING and Ricky Lee LEAMON, also 13, were killed instantly.

Police said the boys found the grenade buried beneath a bush in a neighbor’s backyard. An investigation uncovered 43 more grenades, police said.

Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, NV 28 Sept 1970


My condolences to the

My condolences to the families. Im sure these boys are missed dearly.
In response to what happened to the scumbag, I was married to his niece for 24 yrs and know that he died in 1999 at his home in Novato.

I remember....

I knew David Crawford through church. I attended his funeral, the church was over capacity, the outpour of love was unbelievable. I remember, vividly, the angst and pain on everyone's faces. I was only 10, but it has stuck with me throughout the years. It was then, I began to understand the finality of death.
He was a kind boy that had a wonderful family.
Sometimes I hear a song from that era and it's that tragedy that comes to mind. (For example, Questions 67 and 68 by Chicago).
Even, to this very day, my heartfelt condolences go to the families. Sweet boys, being boys, gone too soon, but not forgotten.

Ricky, Bobby, and David

Hi Mike, I appreciate your heartfelt sentiments ..... I lived over on Brunswich at the time and knew all of those boys. My younger brother was friends with all three, and since Ricky was only a street over all of us kids would get together play street football, or baseball, etc. The afternoon they were killed I heard the blast from about 1/4 mile away. Even in fireworks heavy Riverside CA, the sound was unbelieveable.

They were just really nice kids. It truly was one of the saddest times of my life, even though my family wasn`t directly effected by it. I remember how weird it was to hear a national news anchor reporting on it. Although my younger brother was not there that afternoon, he easily could have been, and to this day I`m grateful was not. He was a pall bearer at Rickys services. I was a junior at Ramona, and knew Gary Ewing. I remember that for about a week afterwards you would see people at school just randomly crying, and you knew why. It was really heartbreaking. And all from such a freakish accident.

As I recall the grenades were standard US Army issue which had been smuggled back from Viet Nam by the owner of the house, who was a vet in prison for unrelated charges. The house was being rented to the sister and brother-in-law as I recall, and the yard was never cared for, providing a hiding place the grenades. I also seem to remember that the home owner was charged with manslaughter sometime later.

At the time I remember thinking that punishment was too lenient, but over the years my thinking has shifted to a different view. I think Ricky, Bobby, and David`s names should be on the Viet Nam Memorial Wall. In my opinion had we not been fighting a war in Viet Nam, and southeast Asia, those boys would not have been exposed to US Army issue hand grenades, and killed in such a freak and tragic accident, at home in their own backyard, 6000 miles from the war.

Joseph, David Crawford was

Joseph, David Crawford was my uncle. Your kindergarten teacher was my Grandmother. Thank you for sharing your story.

Ricky Leamon

I was a classmate and Little League teammate of Ricky's. His was the first death of anyone I actually knew. So strange for it to be someone my age, instead of a grandparent or at least an adult. It was difficult to process. I remember going to the funeral in our LL uniforms.

Bobby Ewing

Growing up in Riverside, Bobby was a friend of mine and Ill never forget the day he died. Bobby's parents owned a local laundry mat that my brother Randy worked at for awhile and my mom was a patron of thier business. That was how I meet Bobby. Bobby was such a nice kid and always friendly to me. I truly enjoyed having him as a friend and always enjoyed the time I spent with him. He was the nicest kid with a smile that would light up everyone around him. The day Bobby died my brother and I were playing basketball in the front yard. Bobby only lived a few blocks away and we all heard the explosion. It wasnt until the next day at school that I found out about Bobby's death. I was devastated and couldnt stop crying. I had to leave school that day. I remember running into Bobby's parents a week or so after that. I just didnt know what to say to them except how much I would miss Bobby. I have never seen a set of parents so devastated in my life. It just broke my heart. Bobby was a wonderful kid and I know he will always be missed.

I Will never forget

I went to jackson school with the boys. Was down the street playing when we heard the boom and felt the ground shake.
Very sad day does anybody know what happend to the scum bag that had them in his yard?

David Crawford

David was my next door neighbor, a great kid and good friend of my brother, and we played little league with Ricky. I remember to this day coming home with my parents and David's mom frantically coming out to us looking to see if he was with us. Unfortunatley that day he was not. It was a mother's intuition that something wasn't right.

May God bless them, they left us way too soon.

Ricky Leamon

Ricky was my best friend, da been for several years. I played with Bobby also, they were next door neighbors and they were friends longer than Ricky & I. I had just moved that summer to San Bernardino and for some reason I didn't get a ride to the party. I went to Ricky's funeral and his mom hugged me.
I always had the question of, "Why not me?" Then, when I was 20, athletic, with good reactions, I was at the right place at the right time, Newport Beach with a friend throwing frisbees at 6am along the waves on the beach, catching the frisbee before it hit the water. Then, as I got ready to snag the frisbee I saw a baby in diapers face down in half a foot of water and in same motion I scooped up the baby while running, I kept running as I realized the baby wasn't breathing and just ran up the embankment looking around for someone but also realizing its 6am and no one was around but us. After I stopped running I realized the baby started breathing, maybe the running help unclog or something. Then a lady came running frantically from south of where I was along the beach, she didn't speak english and i couldnt explain anything but just watched her take that baby in her arms with so much love and relieve. I'll never forget this and will never question god's reasoning, just allow him to work through me if can.

Bobby Ewing was my uncle

I was almost part of this tragedy. I was five years old and I wanted to stay with my uncle Bobby. We were all to have gotten together that night, but my mother decided I needed to go home with her. As we were leaving, driving down Salerno, we heard the loudest bang I'd ever heard. My mother stopped the car, a neighbor lady came out the front door. My mother asked her if one of our tires had burst. We couldn't detect anything, so we continued on down the road. Beyond the stunning sadness of the ordeal, was a bit of strange coincidence. David Crawford happened to be my Kindergarten teacher's son.