Chief: Boy's BB gun 'practically identical' to police weapon

by Garry Watts September 16, 2016, 8:28

Lindsey Nelson says one of the rounds fired by police hit her fence.

The shooting happened after an alleged robbery victim told police that a group had pulled a gun on him and demanded money.

(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete). Members of Tyre King's family console each other during a vigil for 13-year-old Tyre King Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio.

King's death comes almost two years after the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was black, by a white Cleveland police officer who responded to reports of a suspect with a gun in a city park.

King, an eighth-grader, had a BB gun that "looks practically identical" to the type of handgun that Columbus police carry, Chief Kim Jacobs said Thursday.

Toy guns or reproductions can often appear indistinguishable from real weapons, and in shootings that involve such fake weapons, officers often say they could not tell the guns were not real.

At City Hall today, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, Jacobs and Public Safety Director Ned Pettus spoke about the shooting.

"There is something wrong in this country, and it is bringing its epidemic to our city streets", he said.

On July 5, police shot dead 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., while 32-year-old Philando Castile was fatally shot by police near St. Paul, a day later.

Others attending the vigil were upset there was no video evidence of the shooting. He expressed condolences to King's family and said it was "absolutely critical that we get this (investigation) right".

The youngest person shot and killed by police this year was Ciara Meyer, a 12-year-old in Pennsylvania accidentally struck by a bullet during an eviction.

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Police confirmed that no one else was injured and the other male suspect was interviewed and later released, pending further inquiries.

"Once they [officers] arrived at that scene they saw some people that they believed matched the description of the suspects and tried to track down those suspects".

The police chased the pair into an alley and tried to take them into custody.

The actions described by police, who say he ran away and pulled out a realistic-looking BB gun, "are out of his normal character", the attorneys said.

Tyre was black. The officer is white and a nine-year veteran of the force.

In the December 2012 case, Mason shot a man who was holding another man at gunpoint. Mason is on leave while the shooting is investigated. Police did not immediately release the race of the boy killed.

"The family is obviously distraught by the murder of Tyre", said attorney Chanda Brown, who represents the boy's family.

Sean Walton declined to discuss any previous interaction Tyree had with police, but he emphasized that Tyree didn't have any violent criminal history.

The incident began just before 7 p.m. CDT when police responded to reports of an armed robbery.

He said King played football and was in the young scholars programme at school. A rookie officer shot Tamir nearly immediately after his police cruiser stopped nearby. The officer and his partner were cleared of wrongdoing.

The weapon turned out to be a BB gun with a laser sight attachment created to help a shooter's aim, according to police.

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