CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A forensic report released on Monday by attorneys representing the family of a 13-year old African American boy fatally shot by a white Columbus, Ohio, police officer last week said the teenager was shot three times while running away.
Francisco Diaz, a Michigan medical examiner hired by the family’s attorneys, on Sunday examined the body of Tyre King. According to the Columbus Police Department, he was shot multiple times after he appeared to pull a handgun from his waistband during an encounter with police after a report of an armed robbery.
It was later determined the gun in question was an air pistol that fires BBs - small, metal pellets, not bullets. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther previously said the BB gun looks “almost identical” to the 9-millimeter Glock semi-automatic handguns carried by city police.
“Based on the location and the direction of the wound paths, it is more likely than not that Tyre King was in the process of running away from the shooter or shooters when he suffered all three gunshot wounds,” Diaz said, according to a statement from attorneys Sean Walton and Chanda Brown.
City officials referred calls to the Franklin County Coroner’s Office, which said it had not provided any information to Diaz and a determination on the cause and manner of King’s death was pending.
Attorneys for King’s family said the coroner’s office has completed the autopsy and told the family the results will not be available for six to eight weeks. The family has called for an independent investigation of the shooting.
Diaz described King as a “small-framed adolescent boy,” who was 5-feet tall and weighed less than 100 pounds. He found the boy “suffered three gunshot wounds with entrance paths on the left side of his body, any of which could be determined to have been the cause of death,” the attorneys said.
On Saturday, Columbus police arrested Demetrius Emanuel Lee Braxton, 19, in connection with the reported robbery preceding King’s shooting. Braxton was charged with one count of robbery.
Braxton and King were two of three suspects police confronted after responding to reports of an armed robbery. Police are still looking for other individuals who might have been with Braxton at the time of the robbery.
King’s family members said last week the version of events related by officer Bryan Mason, the nine-year veteran who shot King and has been placed on administrative leave, conflicted with witnesses’ accounts.
Progressive group Organize Ohio planned a rally on Monday at Columbus City Hall demanding justice for King.
Reporting by Kim Palmer, Editing by Ben Klayman and Dan Grebler