By Nicole DeStefano
Nation & World Editor
A police officer shot and killed 13-year-old robbery suspect Tyre King in Columbus, Ohio, after he pulled a BB gun out of his waistband. The boy died in a hospital after being shot several times the night of Wednesday, Sept. 14, police told CNN.
King had “pulled a gun from his waistband” when officers attempted to take him and another male into custody, the Columbus Division of Police said in a statement, according to NBC News. The weapon that was recovered from the scene was determined to be a BB gun with an attached laser sight, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said at a news conference on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 15, according to NBC News.
“Our officers carry a gun that looks practically identical to this weapon,” Jacobs said, according to NBC News. “It turns out not to be a firearm, but as you can see, it looks like a firearm that could kill you.”
Police were called at 7:42 p.m. about a group of people, including one individual armed with a gun, who demanded money. The caller told the 911 dispatcher, “This man just had a gun on this white dude on the street,” according to audio released by the police. The victim of the robbery said that the alleged hold up was over $10, NBC News reported.
Upon arriving at the scene, the officers identified three people matching the suspects’ descriptions about a block away from the location given by the caller. When the officers confronted the suspects, two of them ran away. The officers followed them to an alley, where King drew his BB gun and was shot by an officer multiple times. The orange tip that distinguishes air pistols from real ones was removed from the BB gun, according to CNN.
The officer who shot Tyre was later identified as Bryan Mason, a nine-year veteran of the force. He will be placed on paid leave for at least a week during the investigation, according to CNN. Mason was involved in a fatal shooting of an armed man in 2012, but police determined that he had acted within policy, according to NBC News.
According to CNN, attorneys who represent the King family released a statement. They called the behavior police attributed to Tyre “out of his normal character.” The King family also said in a statement that they want an independent investigation of the shooting, according to NBC News.
The city of Columbus has experienced 13 police-involved shootings this year. Five civilians and one police officer were fatally shot, according to NBC News.
“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,” said Andrew Ginther, Columbus’s mayor. “And it’s bringing this epidemic to our city streets.”