Police identify officer involved in 13-year-old suspect's shooting death

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Columbus Police and city officials provided an update on the investigation of an officer-involved shooting of a 13-year-old who pulled a weapon on police.

Mayor Andrew Ginther said as a city leader and father, the loss of a 13-year-old is troubling.

“But if this isn't a call to action...why would an eighth grader have on him an almost exact replica of a police weapon? It is a dangerous time to be a police officer,” he said.

Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said the shooting has already been discussed with the Franklin County Prosecutor.

Jacobs said police had received a call of an armed robbery on the city’s east side just before 8 p.m. Wednesday. A victim told police that a gun was shown by one of the suspects.

Police then noticed three males matching the description of the suspect on Hoffman Street. When approached by the officers, two suspects ran.

While trying to take them into custody, Tyre King pulled what officers believed to be a gun from his waistband.

That’s when Chief Jacobs said 9-year veteran Bryan Mason fired. King died as a result of his injuries.

It was later determined the weapon was a BB gun.

Mason has been placed on administrative leave.

According to Chief Jacobs, Mason has been involved in two prior 'uses of force' including one where two officers were shot.

During the press conference, Chief Jacobs held up a photo of the replica weapon, which she said looks identical to the gun carried by CPD officers.

“It turns out not to be a firearm, but it looks like a firearm that could kill you,” she said.

Replica photo of gun (CPD)

Jacobs said they want to have all the right answers, not quick answers during this investigation.

“I will not put an officer on the street to do their job if I do not trust them to do so. We will make decisions in the best interest of our community,” she said.

This was the 13th officer involved shooting in Columbus this year.

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Family says King was involved in football, soccer, hockey and gymnastics.

But police say King is suspected of robbing a man and carrying a BB gun that looked just like their service weapons when he was shot and killed by an officer.

“It’s yet another example of the racist institution of policing,” Maryam Abidi from the OSU Coalition for Black Liberation said.

Many are outraged that a 13-year-old is dead. The coalition is speaking out, asking for police to change their approach when faced with a situation like this.

“Even if it’s right, there are de-escalation practices, none of which were used by CPD,” Abidi said.

The People’s Justice Project is calling for changes also.

“In these police shootings, we need an independent investigation,” Tammy Alsaada said.

Alsaada knows this shooting has polarized people and knows there is fear on both sides: police and the people in the neighborhoods.

“The police have just as much right to go home safely as Tyre had,” Alsaada said.

The group wants the community and leaders to start talking.

“It’s so easy to choose a side and stay entrenched in those sides, and where has that gotten us?” Alsaada said.

The Franklin County Prosecutor says this police shooting will be handled like all others. Columbus Police will conduct the investigation and the findings will go to a grand jury.

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