The tragic death of Tyre King has many across the country asking why another child is dead in a police shooting According to witness statements and the police, King was with two other friends and was suspected in taking part in an armed robbery of a pedestrian. Others saw the boys’ actions and called 911. Even the victim reportedly stated he was not going to make a big deal over $10.
However, police responding to the scene spotted King and his friends a short distance away. The boys were confronted by the police and King and another juvenile began to run. Cops pursued the pair into an alley where King allegedly reached into his waistband and pulled out a gun with a scope on it. This caused Officer Bryan Masonto to open fire on the teen, shooting him multiple times. King was transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he died from his injuries. King was an 8th grader at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy. He played on the football team and was considered a bright student.
Investigators later found the firearm King had pulled was in fact a BB gun with an attached laser scope. The BB gun was a Umarex 40XP Blowback BB Pistol, which sells for $50 and can be purchased at many big chain stores such as Wal-Mart.
Many people on social media are comparing the killing to that of Tamir Rice; however, the circumstances are widely different. Rice was playing with a toy gun in a park and was shot by a rookie police officer without warning. King was running from police and pulled a BB gun that according to police looked similar to their own firearms.
Officer Mason, who is White, killed a suspect in a 2012 confrontation in which he was cleared of any wrongdoing. In December 2012, Mason shot a man who was holding another man at gunpoint. Officers said the armed man refused orders to drop his weapon and was shot. An attorney for Tyre’s family identified as Sean Walton has called for a fair and independent investigation into Tyre’s death.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther called for calm and seemed emotional when discussing the shooting. He is quoted as stating “There is something wrong in this country, and it is bringing its epidemic to our city streets; and a 13-year-old is dead in the city of Columbus because of our obsession with guns and violence.”
The other suspect with King was 19-year-old Demetrius Braxton. He was interviewed and released pending further investigation. Officer Mason has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, per department protocol. In addition, the officer will receive “mandated psychological support counseling” and be given the opportunity to “take leave time to assist in recovery from a traumatic experience,” according to the Columbus Division of Police.