The Columbus police officer who repeatedly shot a 13-year-old boy Sept. 14 during a response to an alleged armed robbery has been identified.
Bryan Mason fired his weapon at Tyre King, who was carrying a bb gun with a laser sight attached, media reports say.
The shooting occurred after police were called to the area to deal with a report of three males conducting an armed robbery. When they arrived, they ordered two of them, King and 19-year-old Demetrius Braxton, to get down. Braxton complied, but King ran away.Officers pursued King into an alley, where they allege the 13-year-old drew his bb gun from his waistband.
“Our officers carry a gun that looks practically identical to this weapon,” said Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs, according to Daily Mail. “As you can see, it looks like a firearm that could kill you.”
The shooting has provoked widespread outrage, including from Braxton who was interviewed by the Columbus Dispatch.
“He started to run. When he ran, the cops shot him,” Braxton told the Dispatch.
“I didn’t think a cop would shoot. Why didn’t they tase him?” he added.
The King family attorney said Tyre was of slight build and was on the small side for his age. The family has also said his alleged involvement in an armed robbery would be totally out of character.
Previous police accounts of shootings by officers have turned out to be false, such as in the cases of the deaths of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati and Laquan MacDonald in Chicago, Vox reported.
There is no video footage from body cameras to back up the police’s version of events.
The police have attempted to dismiss any similarity between Tyre King’s death and that of Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland. Both boys were African American and in possession of toy guns when they were shot.
“The only thing similar in nature is the age, race and outcome,” Columbus police spokesman Sergeant Rich Weiner alleged, according to the Mail. “The facts are not similar, and that must be reiterated.”
Mason has been put on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an investigation.
he previously shot and killed a man in December 2012 who was threatening another man in a dispute with a weapon. The officer was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case.