COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A couple hundred people attended a vigil Thursday night for Tyre King, 13, who died after a police-involved shooting.
“This does not feel right,” one woman said. “This is not good and there are too many people hurting.”
Words of grief poured out for King at the vigil.
“[He’s] not coming back,” King’s sister said.
Crowds gathered at the park off East Broad and South 18th Streets on the east side
“It’s sad, man, just really sad,” said Micheal Bell, the coach of King’s community football team. “He was a kid, a little boy.”
Members of the football team, the Columbus Day Stars, stood by as Bell spoke during the vigil.
“He wasn’t a bad kid,” Bell said. “He wasn’t a kid running around on robberies. He was a kid looking for positive programs. He was a kid smiling and happy with life.”
A Columbus police officer fatally shot King as he was trying to detain the boy following reports of an armed robbery, officials said earlier on Thursday.
Authorities identified the teenager as Tyre King, an 8th grader at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy. The Columbus Division of Police said in a statement that King “pulled a gun from his waistband” when officers attempted to take him and another male into custody Wednesday night.
This happened around 7:45pm near the corner of South 18th Street and East Capital Street.
Columbus police responded to the area after a robbery victim claimed a group of individuals had robbed him at gunpoint. Officers then spotted three males matching the description in front of 33 Hoffman Street and tried to talk to them.
Two of the males then ran away, and officers followed them to an alley behind 27 Hoffman Street.
“Officers followed the males to the alley and attempted to take them into custody when one suspect pulled a gun from his waistband,” a police statement said. “One officer shot and struck the suspect multiple times.”
King was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:22 p.m. No one else was injured.
Crime Scene Search Unit detectives determined the teen was holding a BB gun with an attached laser sight.
“We are talking about a 13-year-old that we believe was involved in an armed robbery,” CPD Chief Kim Jacobs said during a news conference. “I know that some of the officers at the scene were very disturbed about the fact that here we are out at this time of the night chasing armed 13-year-olds.”
“We oughta be shocked and angry as a community. In the safest big city in America, we have a 13-year-old dead in our city. That’s unacceptable,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “We as a community need to come to grips with the fact, with such easy access to guns, whether they’re firearms or replicas, there’s something wrong in this country and it’s bringing its epidemic to our city streets.”
“It is never the people’s fault when they get murdered by the state,” he said.
Adrienne Hood, the mother of Henry Green, also spoke. Green was killed earlier this year in a police-involved shooting.
“All lives do matter,” Hood said. “But our lives matter too.”
Thursday’s vigil was organized by several local community groups, including State of the Community and People’s Justice Project.
Tammy Fournier-Alsaada, with the People’s Justice Project, said they are here to mourn together, but also to push forward to find solutions in addressing violence and police-community relations.
“What I think has to shift is the police have to be serious about getting into a relationship understanding our culture understanding the issues we face and as it pertains to our young people,” she said. “We are here today to say enough is enough. It’s unacceptable. We cannot keep experiencing these levels of violence.”