People still stop Craig Crisp, Sr. to talk about how fast his son was.
“People talk about his speed,” said Crisp. “He ran track in high school.”
Years after he graduated, his talents still worthy to be discussed.
He added, “Craig was a fun-loving kid.”
The fun-loving kid whose smile “could light up a room,” was shot and killed in a parking lot in Antioch on August 11.
“I basically broke down and just… stunned silence. I walked downstairs, and my wife saw me there and she thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke. She was about to call 911 and I just burst into tears just crying,” he recalled.
Crisp, Sr. was at his home in Illinois when his daughter called to say his 24-year-old son was murdered.
Metro police arrested 18-year-old Michael Russell Monday evening and charged him with criminal homicide.
Police said Crisp’s killers followed him to the apartment complex on Apache Trail, threatened to rob him, fought him and then shot him at least once, leaving him to die in the parking lot.
According to his arrest affidavit, Russell admitted to the crime, telling officers he was with another man and that they went after Crisp because of road rage.
Russell told police he and the man he was with threw the gun and their clothing into the Cumberland River. Officers have not arrested the second suspect.
Craig Crisp, Jr. was studying Computer Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University and was an Army National Guardsman. His father said he was always driven and a natural leader.
“His Sergeant and all those that served with him talked about how outstanding he was. How he strived to be the best and how he always was a leader and you know, he was the Guidon for the Army (National Guard) and basically, he carried the flag for all the units,” said Crisp.
The Guardsman chosen to carry the flag leading his unit was led to his final resting place by the men he served with. Crisp, Jr. was buried with military honors in Kankakee, Illinois.
“I would like for his life to have counted for something more than the murder. I want to remember the good things and I would hope that this be a learning lesson, a teachable moment for other youth in that community and outside that community across this country, that people would understand the importance of life,” said Crisp, Sr.
He added, “Let’s make some opportunities for these young people to correct their lives. I’m thinking about starting a foundation in my son’s memory, basically, to try and help these at-risk kids before they become, basically, criminals.”
Crisp, Sr, said he is on a mission to change mindsets and help young people chose a path like the one his son followed.
“I really want to put the message out there that we need to stop the violence and I want to look into these young men’s eyes and see what is going on. Sometimes you have to put a face with the victim for people to understand the hurt that they’ve caused,” said Crisp, Sr.
Crisp was staying in Antioch at his sister’s apartment until his dorm was ready at MTSU. He would have moved in Wednesday.