COLUMBUS, Ohio — A police officer shot and killed a 16-year-old girl who appeared to be charging at another girl while holding a knife Tuesday during a fight reported outside a home in Columbus, Ohio.
Body camera footage released by police showed the officer, identified as Nicholas Reardon, fired four shots, killing Ma’Khia Bryant.
Update 3:05 p.m. EDT April 21: Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said state law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether the shooting Tuesday of Ma’Khia Bryant was such an instance.
Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is reviewing the killing following an agreement with the city last summer for all police shootings to be handled by the independent investigators under Attorney General Dave Yost’s office.
On Wednesday, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther mourned the loss of the young victim but defended the officer’s use of deadly force.
“We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” he told reporters.
Update 2:35 p.m. EDT April 21: Ohio Public Safety Director Ned Pettus urged people to exercise patience as the investigation into Tuesday’s deadly police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant continues.
“I understand the outrage and emotion around this incident. A teenage girl is dead. And she’s dead at the hands of a police officer. Under any circumstances, that is a horrendous tragedy,” Pettus said Wednesday at a news conference.
“But the video shows that there’s more to this. It requires us to pause, take a look at the sequence of events, and though it’s not easy, wait for the facts as determined by an independent investigation.”
Body camera footage released by police showed a chaotic scene outside a home in Columbus as officers responded to a 911 call for help. Officer Nicholas Reardon fired four shots, killing Ma’Khia, as she held a knife over another girl, according to video of the incident and police.
Update 2:30 p.m. EDT April 21: Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said Tuesday’s deadly police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant unearthed “a bigger societal question.”
Ma’Khia was shot by Officer Nicholas Reardon on Tuesday afternoon as body camera footage showed her holding a knife over another girl.
“Bottom line: Did Ma’Khia need to die yesterday? How did we get here?” Ginther said. “How do we, as a city and as a community, come together to make sure that our kids never feel the need to resort to violence as a means of resolving disputes or to protect themselves?”
Update 2:15 p.m. EDT April 21: Police identified the Columbus police officer who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant on Tuesday as Officer Nicholas Reardon.
Authorities said Reardon was working a one-officer car when he responded to 911 calls made about a fight outside a home in Columbus. Video released Wednesday by police showed Reardon arriving to the scene, pulling out his gun and firing four shots at Ma’Khia. At the time, she appeared to have a knife in one of her hands.
“She had a knife,” Reardon can be heard saying in the video.
Update 12:06 a.m EDT April 21: During the news conference and again in a news release, Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. called the teen’s death “devastating.”
“She could be my grandchild. My heart breaks for her family tonight,” Pettus said. “No matter what the circumstances, they are in agony, and they are in my prayers.”
Update 11:39 p.m. EDT April 20: During the body cam video released by the Columbus Police Department, it appeared that a Black girl was trying to stab two people with a knife, according to The Associated Press.
A black-handled blade resembling a kitchen knife or steak knife appeared to be lying on the sidewalk next to her immediately after she fell, the AP reported.
“She had a knife. She just went at her,” a man can be heard in the video.
Warning: Video in tweet below shows some graphic images.
Update 11:14 p.m. EDT April 20: According to a news release from Franklin County Children Services, the child was identified as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, WBNS reported. Bryant was a foster child under the care of the agency, according to the release. Columbus Interim Police Chief Mike Woods and Mayor Andrew Ginther referred to the girl only as a 15-year-old during a news conference late Tuesday.
Woods did not reveal the victim’s name at the news conference, saying that next-of-kin needed to be notified.
Update 11:02 p.m. EDT April 20: At a news conference late Tuesday, Columbus Interim Police Chief Mike Woods showed body camera footage, first in real-time and then in slow motion, of the shooting of a 15-year-old girl.
“This is a horrible, tragic day in the city of Columbus,” Mayor Andrew Ginther said. Based on the video, the mayor said, “it is clear the officer took action to protect another young life.”
Original report: “This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted, adding that there was body camera footage of the incident. “I’m asking for residents to remain calm and allow BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation) to gather the facts.”
BCI is usually given the job of investigating shootings involving police officers, WCMH reported.
Police said the initial call for a stabbing was received at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT, with the shots fired call coming in 15 minutes later, the television station reported.
Family members have identified the victim as a 15-year-old girl, according to WSYX, but the Columbus Police Department has not released the victim’s name or confirmed her age.
Police who answered the department’s telephone and officers on the scene were not immediately able to provide details to The Associated Press.
Family members said the teen called the police for help because girls were fighting outside of her home, WBNS reported.
A woman claiming to be the aunt of the victim told reporters that the girl “was a good kid.”
“She was loving. Yeah she had issues,” the woman said to reporters. “That’s OK. All of us go through (expletive). “She was 15 ... years old. She didn’t deserve to die like a dog on the street.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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