On Wednesday night, a Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed 13-year-old Tyre King when they responded to a call about an armed robbery in the area. On Thursday, the police involved in the case have stated that the boy was carrying a BB gun when he was shot and it looked “practically identical” to a police weapon.
Officers were allegedly seeking information on an armed robbery in the area and said that they approached Tyre King with two other boys, and him and one other took off before the police could question them. The Columbus Division of Police released a statement that the police thought the two matched the description of the suspects and gave pursuit, only to end up in an alley where King, who was an eighth grader, pulled “what looked like handgun from his waistband.” In the incident which followed, Tyre King was shot multiple times by the police officer.
The weapon that was recovered from the scene of the shooting death proved to be a BB gun that had an attached laser sight. At a press conference Thursday morning, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs took the time to display a photo of a BB gun with a laser scoop on it that she says is an exact replica of the BB gun that Tyre had on him when he was shot and killed. She also went on to state that the gun clearly looked like it “could kill you.”
“Our officers carry a gun that looks practically identical to this weapon. As you can see, it looks like a firearm that could kill you… Some of the officers at the scene were very disturbed about the fact that here we are out at this time of the night chasing [apparently] armed 13-year-olds.”
Bryan Mason, who is a white man, is a nine-year veteran of the Columbus police and the officer who shot and killed the young African-American boy. He maintains that he only opened fire after Tyre pulled what appeared to be a weapon from his waistband. The Inquisitr wrote earlier that Mason has been involved in another fatal police shooting in 2012.
According to ABC News, Sean Walton, who is one of the lawyers for King’s family, disputed the version of events the police are giving. He said that King was a typical 13-year-old boy who would have had no reason to act the way the police are saying and it would be “out of his normal character.” Walton also spoke of “multiple witnesses that we have been made aware of that do not corroborate the current narrative.” The legal team for the family will be pursuing an independent investigation into the shooting death of Tyre King by Officer Bryan Mason.
The moment news of the shooting broke, the public began making instant comparisons to the November 2014 death of another black child with a toy gun, Tamir Rice. At the age of 12, Tamir Rice was fatally shot by a rookie member of the nearby Cleveland Police Department while playing alone in a gazebo, with a toy gun. The police force was sharply criticized for the death.
But now, New York Daily News is reporting that Chief Jacobs is urging the public to cease comparing the death of Tyre King with that of Tamir rice. The police chief stated that it is still too early to draw any comparisons between the two deaths of young black males who had toy guns being shot and killed by white male police officers. The chief is pleading that judgement be withheld until after an investigation has been completed.
“We don’t have enough facts to know anything how this relates to any other shooting, including Tamir Rice’s. That’s why we do an investigation.”
At this time it is unclear whether or not any surveillance or even cellphone footage of the incident exists. The other male who was with King at the time of the shooting was not harmed, and after questioning, the police released him pending further inquiries.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is also calling for public calm while the investigation is ongoing and also mentioned that shooting also raises concerns about the problem of access to weapons, both toy and real and definitely including a BB gun that is made to look like actual firearms.
[Featured Image by Andrew Welsh-Huggins/AP Images]