COLUMBUS, Ohio—A police officer responding to a reported armed robbery shot and killed a 13-year-old boy when the teen pulled a firearm from his waistband that was later determined to be a BB gun, police said Thursday.
The shooting happened around nightfall Wednesday in an alley east of downtown Columbus after a short foot chase.
Columbus police said officers responded to a report of an armed robbery involving multiple suspects and were told by the victim that a group of people had approached him and demanded money. The victim said one of them had a gun.
Down the block, officers spotted three males who matched the description of the alleged robbers, and two of them ran away when officers tried to speak with them, police said. Officers followed the pair into a nearby alley and tried to take them into custody, and one of the suspects pulled out a gun, police said. One officer fired, hitting the 13-year-old repeatedly.
That suspect, later identified as Tyree King, was taken to a children’s hospital, where he died. The officers and the other male involved in the encounter weren’t injured.
Neighborhood resident Chris Naderer told The Columbus Dispatch he was home at the time and heard someone knock down a gate in his backyard, then saw an officer chasing two young men into the alley and heard several gunshots.
Police reviewing evidence from the scene determined the boy’s firearm was actually a BB gun with an attached laser sight.
The male who had been with Tyree was interviewed and released pending further investigation, police said. They provided no further information about him.
Police said additional suspects were being sought as the shooting and alleged robbery remained under investigation.
The shooting will be reviewed internally, which is required under Columbus Division of Police protocol.