On Wednesday night, a 13-year-old boy name Tyree King was shot and killed by police in an alley in Columbus, Ohio. Police allege that he pulled a gun from his waistband. The weapon recovered from the scene was a BB gun with a laser sighter.
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs held a press conference Thursday morning, in which she showed a photo of a replica of King’s toy, which she says resembles the real gun officers carry. She added, “It turns out not to be a firearm, but as you can see, it looks like a firearm that can kill you.”
Officers approached King after responding to an armed robbery report, believing the group he was standing with a block from the scene matched the description of the suspects. King and another young man ran and officers followed them into the alley, where they say King pulled out a weapon. A local resident named Chris Naderer said that he saw the police chasing the young men, then he “heard gun shots, five, 10 seconds afterwards.” King was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
NBC News reports that the officer who shot King was identified as Brian Mason, a nine year veteran of the force who had recently transferred to the area. He has been placed on administrative leave for a week and will receive mandated psychological counseling as investigators determine whether or not criminal charges are warranted.
There is no confirmation yet on whether or not the officers were wearing body cameras. Columbus began testing body cameras last month and have plans to fully implement them before the end of the year. Mayor Andrew Ginther focused on King’s gun replica in his statement, saying, “We as a community need to come to grips with the fact that with such easy access to guns — whether they’re firearms or replicas — there’s something wrong with this country, and it’s bringing this epidemic to our city streets.”