Boy with BB gun killed by po­lice

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

COLUM­BUS, OHIO >> A black boy. A white Ohio po­lice of­fi­cer. A pel­let gun that looked like a real weapon. And a deadly shoot­ing.

In a killing with un­avoid­able echoes of the Tamir Rice case out of Cleve­land, a Colum­bus of­fi­cer re­spond­ing to a re­port of a $10 armed rob­bery shot a 13-year-old boy Wed­nes­day night after the young­ster pulled a BB gun from his waist­band that looked “prac­ti­cally iden­ti­cal” to the weapon po­lice use, au­thor­i­ties say.

On the morn­ing after Tyre King’s death, Mayor An­drew Ginther ap­peared to choke up as he called for the com­mu­nity to come to­gether and ques­tioned why an eighth-grader would have a replica of a po­lice firearm.

“There is some­thing wrong in this coun­try, and it is bring­ing its epi­demic to our city streets,” Ginther said Thurs­day. “And a 13-year-old is dead in the city of Colum­bus be­cause of our ob­ses­sion with guns and vi­o­lence.”

While the case is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, po­lice and city au­thor­i­ties re­jected com­par­isons to the 2014 killing of 12-year-old Tamir in Cleve­land.

“The only thing sim­i­lar in na­ture is the age, race and out­come,” po­lice spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner said. “The facts are not sim­i­lar, and that must be re­it­er­ated.”

Dozens of peo­ple at­tended a Thurs­day evening vigil near the scene of the shoot­ing. Some car­ried signs call­ing for jus­tice for Tyre. Among those par­tic­i­pat­ing were sev­eral mem­bers of Tyre’s youth foot­ball team. Their coach de­scribed the first-year player as some­one with a “smile that could light up the room.”

Of­fi­cers in­ves­ti­gat­ing the rob­bery re­port east of down­town Colum­bus spot­ted three males who matched the de­scrip­tion of the sus­pects, au­thor­i­ties said. Two of the males ran away when of­fi­cers tried to speak with them.

The po­lice chased the pair into an al­ley and tried to take them into cus­tody. Tyre pulled out a gun with a laser sight, and an of­fi­cer fired, hit­ting the boy re­peat­edly, po­lice said. Tyre died at a hos­pi­tal.

The of­fi­cer was iden­ti­fied as Bryan Ma­son, a nine-year vet­eran of the force. Po­lice records show that in 2012 he shot and killed a man who was hold­ing an­other per­son at gun­point. The Colum­bus Dis­patch said in­ves­ti­ga­tors cleared him.

Ma­son has been placed on leave while Tyre’s shoot­ing is in­ves­ti­gated, in keep­ing with de­part­ment pol­icy. A call to the head of the po­lice union rep­re­sent­ing him was not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

In a 911 call Wed­nes­day, the rob­bery vic­tim calmly in­di­cated he didn’t want to make a big deal over $10. He also said he thought the weapon looked like a par­tic­u­lar type of Ruger semi-au­to­matic pis­tol. Sirens were heard mo­ments later as po­lice searched for the sus­pects. Then an uniden­ti­fied wit­ness told a dis­patcher: “He’s shoot­ing him! Oh, my God!”

At a news con­fer­ence, Po­lice Chief Kim Ja­cobs dis­played a photo of a BB gun like the one Tyre had.

“Our of­fi­cers carry a gun that looks prac­ti­cally iden­ti­cal to this weapon,” she said. “As you can see, it looks like a firearm that could kill you.”

An at­tor­ney for Tyre’s fam­ily, Sean Wal­ton, called for an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He also said he was aware of wit­nesses who didn’t agree with the po­lice ver­sion of events.

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