What Happened To Tyree King? A Columbus Officer Fatally Shot This 13-Year-Old
Authorities in Columbus, Ohio, have confirmed that local police officers, responding to a report of an alleged robbery, shot and killed a 13-year-old black boy on Sept. 14. That boy has been identified as Tyree King, who officers initially believed pulled a gun from his waistband after being approached about the alleged robbery. According to Washington Post database that tracks officer-involved shootings, King is the second-youngest person to be killed by police just this year.
Though details of the tragic incident are still emerging, Columbus officers have said that they had received a report of a robbery shortly before the shooting. The robbery victim alleged that several young men approached him and demanded money at gunpoint on the street. Officers then encountered three young men who matched the descriptions of the suspects and approached them, according to NBC News. Two of them ran away, and as officers trailed King into an alleyway, they alleged that the 13-year-old pulled what appeared to be a gun from his waistband, NBC News reported. An investigation of the scene later revealed that the supposed weapon was actually a BB gun with an attached laser site.
Officials have also confirmed that the unidentified person that ran with King was interviewed and released by police without incident. According to reports, King was pronounced dead from multiple gun shot wounds at approximately 8:22 p.m. at the local Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The tragic shooting death of 13-year-old King draws remarkable similarities to the officer-involved shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by Cleveland police nearly two years ago. Someone had called police to alert them of "a guy with a pistol," but officials later discovered that Rice had merely been holding a toy gun.
Despite sparking national outrage, a grand jury chose not to indict the officers involved in the Rice shooting. The prosecutor overseeing the trial said that the toy gun was "indistinguishable" from a real gun.
According to the Washington Post database, at least 60 deadly shootings wherein the suspects held toy guns have occurred since 2015. King's case is just the latest in a string of unfortunate police-involved murders.
Though the investigation into his death is still ongoing, the shooting of King will likely illicit similar, justified outcry from activists who have traced a pattern of officer-involved shootings of black people, who are twice as likely to be killed by police officers than white people.