Columbus, Ohio — A black 13-year-old teenager was fatally shot by a white police officer who was responding to reports of an armed robbery by a “black boy in a hoodie”. The suspect, identified as Tyre King, is said to have pulled out a weapon on the officer, which authorities later confirmed was a BB gun.
Officers responding to the 911 call chased King into an alleyway where the deadly confrontation occurred. King sustained multiple gunshot wounds after he drew a weapon, which appeared to be a handgun, from his waistband. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital but died from the wounds just after 8pm.
Columbus police chief Kim Jacobs confirmed the incident during a news conference.
“We consider it a tragedy when something like this happens,” Jacobs said. “This is the last thing any police officer wants.”
Jacobs revealed the officer who shot King is a 9-year veteran named Bryan Mason, who has since been placed on temporary administrative duty pending an internal investigation.
The chief also confirmed that the officer will receive “mandated psychological support counseling” as well as having the opportunity to “take leave time to assist in recovery from a traumatic experience”. These protocols are issued following all police related shootings in the state.
A Columbus law firm released a statement on behalf of King’s family, who are calling for an independent invitation into the incident, saying that,
“numerous witness accounts are in direct conflict with the officer’s version of events.”
“The family is obviously distraught by the murder of Tyre,” attorney Chanda L. Brown said in the statement.
“They are shocked and indicate the actions described by the police are out of his normal character,”
It spoke of how King was typical 13-year-old boy with various interests including football, soccer, hockey and gymnastics.
A prayer vigil of more than 150 people in attendance was held near the location of the shooting late on Thursday evening. Several members of King’s family paid tribute, including his sister Marshay Caldwell.
“My eyes are still swollen and my head still hurts. He’s really not coming back.”
The death occurs almost two years after the death of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old boy who was also fatally shot by a white Ohio police who was responding to reports of a suspect armed with a gun.
In another similarity with that incident, Rice was revealed to be carrying a replica gun as opposed to a real fireman. His death was one of many that lead to widespread riots and protests against police treatment of minorities.
Reports say that police spoke with the witness of the alleged robbery and that they are currently looking for a third suspect.