Cops killed a 13-year-old boy in Ohio because he had a BB gun

Police were responding to reports of an armed robbery when the boy pulled a BB gun from his waistband.
September 15, 2016, 2:40pm
Photo via Flickr

A 13-year-old boy shot and killed by police in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday night. Officers said in a statement they reacted when the young teen, Tyree King, started to pull what looked like a gun from his waistband. They later determined that the weapon was a BB gun. The race of King has not yet been released.

Police said that they were responding to a report of an armed robbery shortly after nightfall in the Olde Towne East Neighborhood. The victim said he was approached by multiple suspects who demanded money, and reported one of them as having a gun.

When they arrived at the scene, police said they saw three men "matching the descriptions." King and another suspect reportedly fled on foot. Officers ran after them into an alleyway and said they tried to take them into custody when King "pulled a gun from his waistband."

One officer shot King "multiple times." The 13-year-old was taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital, and by around 8.22 pm, he was pronounced dead. The officers and the other suspect were not injured. The firearm that King was supposedly packing was later determined to be a BB gun with a laser sight attached.

The officer who fired the shots is reportedly a nine-year veteran of the Columbus police force who was recently transferred into the neighborhood where the shooting took place, according to a local NBC station.

Chris Naderer, who lives in the area, told the Columbus Dispatch that he was at home when he heard a commotion in his backyard. He reported seeing a police officer pursuing two young men into an alley behind his home, and then heard "three to five gunshots."

Columbus police said that the officers involved will receive mandated psychological support counseling, per department protocol. The officers have also been encouraged to take time off to recover from the incident, which will be investigated by the Critical Incident Response Team.

According to The Guardian's The Counted, which tracks police killings, King was the 762nd person to be killed by police in 2016.

Although details are scarce, for many, the death of King is painfully reminiscent of Tamir Rice's death in November 2014. Rice, 12, was in a park playing with a BB gun, which Cleveland police mistook for a genuine firearm. Officers shot and killed Rice. The boy's death became yet another flashpoint for conversations about race and policing, and an impetus for the growing Black Lives Matter movement.

On Thursday morning, Black Lives Matter activists took to social media to express their anger over King's death.

Ohio is an open carry state. Still, they keep killing black kids with BB guns.— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti)September 15, 2016

Devastated. Just learned that police in Columbus, Ohio shot & killed a 13 y/o Black boy named — Shaun King (@ShaunKing)September 15, 2016

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein also weighed in:

Just like Tamir Rice, — Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein)September 15, 2016

Photo via Flickr