She joked that he was big enough to make his own breakfast.
Betty Holley never tired of the back and forth with Ladarrus. Her older son, Dorian, had died in a car crash in 2008. Ladarrus, nicknamed “Beetelejuice” by an aunt at birth, and known ever since as “Beetle” or “Juice,” was all she had.
“It was like he had to look at me all day,” Betty Holley recalled about that day.
Betty Holley never saw her son Ladarrus again.
Around 10 p.m. Sept. 7, Crawford, 28, was at his girlfriend’s apartment on Lucas Street. The girlfriend told police that Crawford was going to put something in his Toyota car, and that he walked outside.
He was shot once in the short distance between the sliding door of the apartment and the parking lot. He died on the kitchen floor.
His mother received a phone call that her son was shot. With help from family, she rushed to the scene. She saw police cars all over the street and fire trucks and an ambulance, and she was told her son was dead. She collapsed.
More than a week later, she is still shocked that her son is gone.
“We all want to know, we can’t understand, why would anyone want to take my son away from his family?” Betty Holley said. “We want to know what happened. We want to know who did it. We want to know why.”
Rock Hill police say they don’t know why. Or who did it, either.
Detectives saw two people in the area on video surveillance from the apartment complex, said Capt. Mark Bollinger, spokesman for the Rock Hill Police Department.
“All we can see are shadows. It is not of value to us in the investigation,” Bollinger said.
The investigation had no leads from the beginning, he said, forcing investigators to keep digging.
Crawford was not robbed, police said. His car was not stolen. His keys were in his pocket.
Crawford left a son, 7-year-old Dorian, named after Ladarrus’ older brother.
Holley said her grandson, “cried and cried and cried” when she told him his father had died.
“Ladarrus helped coach his son’s football team. He was a good father,” said family member Sitrina Miller.
Frances McCrorey, another family member, said Crawford was a “sweet soul” who had a kind heart. Her daughter, Patrice, was among the closest to Ladarrus.
“Everybody loved Ladarrus,” Patrice McCrorey said.
The Robinson Funeral Home register, in the front vestibule of the family home on Stoneybrook Lane, has pages of signatures from people who have visited since Crawford was killed. Teachers from as far back as first grade. Friends. Classmates. Neighbors.
“We are all just shocked,” Patrice McCrorey said.
Ladarrus was on disability due to a bladder condition. He had worked driving a truck in Charlotte, but he was not able to continue that job, his mother said.
The family said they knew of no “beefs” or problems that Ladarrus had with anyone.
What the family does know is that Ladarrus always was a sharp dresser. He wore a pink tuxedo to his Rock Hill High School prom a decade ago.
He was a young man who sat with a cousin on her deathbed for hours and days.
A father, a brother and a son.
“And now my son is gone, and nobody has been able to tell us who took him,” Holley said.
Want to help?
Anyone with information on the killing of Ladarrus Crawford is asked by Rock Hill police to call York County Crimestoppers at 1-877-409-4321.