COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Franklin County grand jury has decided that the police use of deadly force in the fatal shooting of Tyre King was justified and declined to return an indictment.
A vigil for King is scheduled at 6pm at Central SDA Church, at 80 S. 18th St. in Columbus. The vigil was originally set at the Douglas Elementary School park but moved inside due to rain.
The incident happened while officers were responding to a call of an armed robbery. According to police, King was shot after pulling a gun from his waistband. The gun turned out to be a realistic-looking BB gun.
The case sparked protests and calls for an independent investigation of the shooting.
Officer Bryan Mason, the officer who fired the shots, has been involved in four officer-involved shootings, two of them fatal.
Columbus mayor Andy Ginther released the following statement:
I am grateful for the patience of the community in awaiting the results of the grand jury investigation into the police-involved shooting of Tyre King. I strongly believe the proceedings of the grand jury should be unsealed and the results of the police investigation should be made public as soon as the law allows.
The death of a 13-year-old under any circumstances is tragic. I am committed to continuing to work with all residents and the police to break the cycle of violence, build trust and give hope.
Columbus City Council released a statement Friday evening:
Today’s grand jury decision is a sad and unfortunate reminder that a child has died in our community. While we are grateful for the grand jury’s service and for the community’s patience awaiting these results, the Council is also deeply reflective on how we must aggressively strive to end violence in our community and continue to improve the relationship between the people of Columbus and the criminal justice system.
Increased openness and transparency is an important first step. That’s why, whenever possible, police investigations and grand jury proceedings must be available to the public.
Anytime a child dies it is a tragic event, and this time is no different. The Columbus City Council members pray for all those who are involved and, as always, will work hard to do our parts to support and create initiatives that build trust with our police and reduces violence in Columbus.
Malika King, Tyre’s mother, was the first witness to appear before the grand jury. Family attorney Sean Walton said it was important to the family that she get a chance to speak.
“This was an opportunity for her to convey to the grand jurors who her son was,” Walton said. “He was a kid. He was a 13-year-old child. He was not someone who was a troublemaker. He was not someone who had a history of any type of criminal behavior.”
“At some point, the Columbus Division of Police has to be held accountable for using force against citizens,” Walton said.