Family looking for answers after Columbus SWAT officer shoots & kills 16-year-old armed robbery suspect

Credit: WBNS-TV

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Friends and family held a candlelight vigil Saturday night for 16- year old Julius Tate Jr. at the intersection of Mount Vernon Avenue and North Champion Avenue.

It is the same place where the teen was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer after investigators said he tried to rob a SWAT officer in plain clothes at gunpoint.

Jamita Malone tearfully told 10TV, “We’re standing on my son’s blood.”

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Malone says she is angry that more than 24 hours after the shooting, she has not heard a word from police.

“The police shot my son, and no one contacted me. And I'm out here like, where is my son?”

Columbus police robbery detectives said the meeting between Tate Jr. and SWAT officers was not a random coincidence.

Sgt. Dave Harrington said Tate Jr. is a suspect in two recent armed robberies.

Both victims responded to a social media sale site but when they showed up to exchange the item for cash, the victim’s were robbed at gunpoint.

“The second victim had been pistol-whipped in front of her children,” said Sgt. Harrington.

Police did not know the identity of the person posting the sale ad, so undercover SWAT officers responded to the ad and set up a meeting.

“They're pulling up knowing, more likely than not, someone is going to stick a pistol in their face, or a firearm in their face, and rob them, and that's an extremely dangerous situation,” said Harrington.

Police said 16-year old Julius Tate Jr. arrived at the meeting place Friday evening, and pointed a gun at a SWAT officer in plain clothes. The teen was shot and killed by another officer.

Malone is not accepting the official police explanation of why her child is dead.

“They can say all this on the news, well, the police said this, and it's a statement,” said Malone shaking her head. “Where's my son…you all killed my son.”

Police said they recovered a weapon at the shooting scene.