UPDATED: September 15, 2016 - 2:35 PM EST
The cop who shot and killed 13-year-old Ohio middle school student Tyree King has been identified as officer Brian Mason, a 9-year veteran of the Columbus Police Department. Additional details on the witness account from 19-year-old Demetrius Braxton, who was with King at the time of the shooting, have also been revealed. Braxton reportedly told the Columbus Dispatch, "I was in the situation. We robbed somebody, the people I was with." In a slightly conflicting version of what led officer Mason to open fire on King, Braxton said the two teens initially followed police orders to get down on the ground, but then King ran and was shot by police. "When he ran, the cops shot him," Braxton told the news outlet. “I didn’t think a cop would shoot. Why didn’t they Tase him?" Initial statements from police claimed officer Mason opened fire after King "reached for a gun in his wasitband."
The Columbus, Ohio community is searching for answers after police shot and killed a 13-year-old Black boy on Wednesday evening.
AP reports say officers were responding to a call about a robbery involving multiple suspects when they encountered 13-year-old Tyree King and two others, all of whom they claimed matched the description of the robbery suspects given by the caller.
The officers say they were attempting to question the trio when two of them began to run.
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.
Police eventually caught up to the pair in an alley and attempted to arrest them when King allegedly reached for a gun in his waistband, according to a statement released by the police department following the fatal shooting. At that point, one officer immediately opened fire, striking King several times.
He was taken to a local children's hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Investigators ultimately discovered that it was a BB gun the teen pulled from his waistband during the fatal confrontation. Police claim the victim said the robbery suspects held him at gunpoint and demanded money.
The other individual who ran off with King was brought in for questioning and later released. An investigation into the shooting is currently underway, including a search for additional suspects.