Kurt Chirbas and Alexander Smith, NBC News, September 15, 2016
Police in Columbus, Ohio, were investigating how a 13-year-old boy wanted for questioning Wednesday night in an armed robbery ended up fatally shot by an officer.
The child–later identified by Columbus police as Tyree 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. As the encounter unfolded, an officer shot King “multiple times.”
The weapon recovered from the scene was determined to be a BB gun with an attached laser sight, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said at news conference Thursday morning. She showed a replica image of that BB gun.
“Our officers carry a gun that looks practically identical to this weapon,” said Jacobs, adding, “It turns out not to be a firearm, but as you can see, it looks like a firearm that can kill you.”
Police were first called to a report of a group of people–including one armed with a gun–demanding money at 7:42 p.m. ET.
Officers arriving at the scene saw three people matching the suspects’ descriptions around a block away. However, when they attempted to speak with them, two of the males ran away, police said in a statement.
“Officers followed the males to the alley . . . and attempted to take them into custody when one suspect pulled a gun from his waistband,” police added. “One officer shot and struck the suspect multiple times.”
The incident in Columbus comes almost two years after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by a police officer in Cleveland.
Jacobs said it’s too early to compare the shootings of King and Rice, although they both involve young black children carrying BB gun being fatally shot by white officers.
“We don’t have enough facts to know anything how this relates to any other shooting, including Tamir Rice’s,” Jacobs said. “That’s why we do an investigation.”