Bryan Mason: Columbus Police Officer Who Killed 13-Year-Old Tyree King Also Pulled Trigger In Fatal 2012 Shooting

Bryan Mason has been identified as the Columbus police officer who fatally shot 13-year-old Tyree King on Wednesday, the second fatal shooting in the last four years for the officer.

King was shot to death late on Wednesday in the city’s Olde Towne East neighborhood after police responded to a report of an armed robbery in the area. King, an 8th grade student, was shot after a short chase and after allegedly pulling a BB gun on police officers, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

King was identified as the suspect in an armed robbery, where the victim claimed that several men approached him demanding money, including one who had a gun. Police arrived and found King with another man, 19-year-old Demetrius Braxton.

Braxton admitted to his role in the robbery and told the Dispatch that Tyree King had a BB gun that looked real.

“The cops said to get down. We got down but my friend (King) got up and ran,” Braxton said. “He started to run. When he ran, the cops shot him.”

Braxton said that King was shot four or five times, and questioned why police would fatally shoot the teen when they could have used a taser.

But Jason Pappas, president of Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, argued the shooting was justified.

“Officers do not have the luxury of knowing if it’s a real gun or not,” Pappas said. “So two young men who were suspects in this armed robbery separated and ran. One of them was ordered to show his hands and go to the ground, and he complied.”

In the wake of the shooting of Tyree King, more information is coming out about the officer who fired the fatal shots. In 2012, officer Bryan Mason fatally shot another suspect who just minutes earlier had called 911 to say that he had a gun and planned to shoot a man if he didn’t leave his home.

As the Columbus Dispatch reported at the time, 51-year-oid John E. Kaufmann Jr. called 911 to say that he wanted a man removed from his home.

“I got a 9-millimeter in my pocket, and if he don’t leave, I’m going to shoot his (expletive),” he said. “You better get over here real quick.”

Another man also called 911 to say that he had a gun to his face, and transcripts of the 911 calls showed that the two men were arguing. Bryan Mason then entered the home and ordered Kaufman to drop his gun, the report claimed. When Kaufman did not drop the weapon, Mason fired multiple times.

The 2012 shooting was reviewed by a grand jury, but Mason remained on the police force and ultimately faced no charges.

The revelation that Bryan Mason had shot and killed another suspect before Wednesday’s killing of Tyree King spread across social media on Thursday, adding even more controversy to the case. There were other unconfirmed reports that Mason was involved in a third shooting, but there appears to be no public records of that incident.

Though the circumstances of King’s shooting point toward it being justified — at least by the account given by police so far — many have compared his killing to that of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. Both were young boys killed while holding BB guns, and both in Ohio which is an open carry state.

There could soon be more answers in the shooting death of Tyree King and whether Bryan Mason was justified in killing the teen. The Columbus Police Department has just embarked on an initiative to equip officers with body cameras, with about 500 officers participating in the first round of the program. It’s not clear yet whether Mason was one of the officers fitted with a body camera.

[Featured Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

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