COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus police officer fatally shot a 13-year-old boy he was trying to detain following reports of an armed robbery, officials said.
Authorities identified the teenager as Tyree King, an 8th grader at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy. The Columbus Division of Police said in a statement that King “pulled a gun from his waistband” when officers attempted to take him and another male into custody Wednesday night.
This happened around 7:45pm near the corner of South 18th Street and East Capital Street.
Columbus police responded to the area after a robbery victim claimed a group of individuals had robbed him at gunpoint. Officers then spotted three men matching the description in front of 33 Hoffman Street and tried to talk to them.
Two of the males then ran away, and officers followed them to an alley behind 27 Hoffman Street.
“Officers followed the males to the alley … and attempted to take them into custody when one suspect pulled a gun from his waistband,” a police statement said. “One officer shot and struck the suspect multiple times.”
King was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:22 p.m. No one else was injured.
Crime Scene Search Unit detectives determined the teen was holding a BB gun with an attached laser sight.
A neighbor who lives nearby, Chris Naderer says he believes he saw the robbers running away from police.
“We heard some people running through our backyard and kind of a loud boom where our gate is busted,” he says. “We assume that they busted the gate down.”
Naderer says that’s when they looked out the window to see what was going and saw an officer chasing the suspects past their home and into a nearby alley.
“Heard gun shots 5, 10 seconds afterwards,” he says.
According to police, the officer who fired the shots is Brian Mason, a nine-year veteran of the force who just recently transferred to the zone where Wednesday night’s shooting happened. As with all police-involved shootings, the officers will receive “mandated psychological support counseling” and be given the opportunity to “take leave time to assist in recovery from a traumatic experience,” according to the Columbus Division of Police.
King was last enrolled at Linden STEM Academy as an 8th grader. There are grief counselors at the school today.
Police say the officers involved were not wearing body cameras. Last month, 30 Columbus cops began testing body-worn cameras and the department is expected to fully implement the devices by the end of the year.
The shooting and robbery are still under investigation.