On Wednesday night, 13-year-old Tyre King was fatally shot by an Ohio police officer responding to a robbery report.
When Officer Bryan Mason, the officer identified as the shooter, arrived on the scene in Columbus, he encountered King, who allegedly pulled what looked like a gun from his waistband. Mason then opened fire and hit King multiple times, officials said.
After the shooting, detectives processed the scene and found the weapon the officer believed he saw. “Upon further inspection, it was determined to be a BB gun with an attached laser site,” according to a statement from the Columbus police.
The report stated that police were initially called to the scene following a report of a suspected robbery. One of the suspects was reportedly armed.
When police arrived, they found suspects who appeared to match the description of the report, yet two of the males in the group took off running. As police chased them into an alley, one of the suspects, King, grabbed his BB gun and was shot, according to the report.
King was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. Tyree King is the second-youngest person killed by police this year, according to the Washington Post. Officer Mason is a nine-year veteran on the force. In 2012 he was involved in a fatal shooting of a man holding another person at gunpoint.
This shooting is very reminiscent of the 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice. Rice was the 12-year-old boy who was shot by a Cleveland police officer. At the time Rice was fatally shot, he also held a BB gun.
When it comes to King's shooting, Ohio police are claiming the shooting was justified. Jason Pappas, president of Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, commented on the BB gun King held.
“Officers do not have the luxury of knowing if it’s a real gun or not,” Pappas said. “So two young men who were suspects in this armed robbery separated and ran. One of them was ordered to show his hands and go to the ground, and he complied.”
No information regarding the status of Mason is available at this time.
(Photo: Walton + Brown LLP via AP)