A 13-year-old boy who was later found to be carrying a BB gun was shot and killed by police responding to an armed robbery Wednesday night in Columbus, Ohio. Tyree King died at a local area children’s hospital about half an hour after he was shot multiple times in the city’s Olde Town East neighborhood, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
A spokesman for the Columbus Division of Police told the Dispatch officers spoke to the robbery victim, who said several young men, including one with a gun, approached him and demanded money.
Officers then found and confronted three men on a nearby street, with two of them running away. King was one of the young men and police later said he pulled from his waistband what was later determined to be a BB gun affixed with a laser sight. King was then shot by an officer.
Police were called to East Broad and 18th streets, and found the three young men on Hoffman Avenue. A witness who lives on Hoffman Avenue told The Dispatch he heard someone knock over a gate in his backyard, and he later saw police chasing two men in an alley and then heard three to five gunshots.
The name of the officer who shot King has not been revealed and neither has the name of other young man who was fleeing with King. Police said the other suspect with King was interviewed and released and that other suspects are being pursued, the New York Daily News reported.
While details are scarce, Wednesday night's shooting draws similarities to Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old who was playing with a pellet gun when a Cleveland police officer shot him in broad daylight in November 2014.
Rice's shooting at the time was part of a spate of high-profile police killings of black males. It was not immediately clear what King's race is or the race of the police officer who shot him.
Local NBC affiliate WCMH reports the officer who fired at King is a nine-year veteran who had recently transferred to the zone where the shooting took place and that all the officers involved will receive psychological counseling.