Columbus police say a 13-year-old boy identified as Tyre King was shot by an officer Wednesday evening. The case is being investigated by internal authorities with the department, but no statement has come forward yet from the boy’s family or the City of Columbus. Here are five things we do know according to police and published reports:
1. The incident started with the report of a robbery near downtown Columbus. Police responded to the robbery and soon approached a group of people who fit the description of the robbery suspects. Two of them fled and the police gave chase.
2. When officers caught up with them in a nearby alley one allegedly pulled a weapon. “In the attempt to take them into custody, that’s when one of the individuals drew a handgun and one officer fired multiple times at the suspect,” said Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner. The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was identified as Tyre King, who was last enrolled as an eighth-grade student at Linden STEM Academy in Columbus, according to NBC News.
3. Upon review, it was determined that the weapon was not a deadly weapon. Police said that the officer fired when seeing the boy’s gun, but it turned out to be a BB gun with an attached laser sight. It is not clear if the officer knew that when firing at King or if he was first warned to drop the gun.
4. The officer was identified as Brian Mason. Police chief Kim Jacobs said that he is a nine year veteran of the Columbus Police Department and had just transferred into the area. Police chief Kim Jacobs said at a Thursday press conference that the officer’s statement is still being gathered. She said “every single piece” of the investigation is being put together. “It’s way too early to know how all of that gels in to the particular moment.”
5. Comparisons are being drawn between this shooting and Tamir Rice. Jabobs said more facts must come out about the case, but many see this shooting as similar to the 2014 death of Rice, 12, at the hands of a police officer in Cleveland. In that incident, police responded to a report of a person wielding a gun in a public park. When police arrived, they found Rice playing with a toy gun and shot him dead almost immediately upon arrival.
Editor’s Note: Officials releasing the shooting victim’s name had originally spelled it Tyree King. It has since been corrected.