COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus police released 911 calls and more body worn camera video during a press conference Wednesday afternoon, one day after the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old girl by a Columbus police officer.
Interim Chief Michael Woods began the press conference by saying his goal is to provide as much information as quickly as he can. Two 911 calls were played.
During the first 911 call, the caller said there were girls trying to stab them. Other voices are heard in the background. The second caller told the dispatcher that police had already arrived, shortly after it was answered.
Mayor Ginther said cruiser camera video will be released either later Wednesday or early Thursday morning.
“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,” said Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus. Pettus is encouraging the public to wait for the facts that will come out of the independent investigation.
“I plead with the community. Let us not rush to judgement,” said Pettus.
Officers were sent to Legion Lane in Columbus around 4:32 p.m. Tuesday after a 911 call about a group of women trying to stab the caller and “put their hands on them,” according to Interim Chief of Police Michael Woods. Video released Tuesday night shows an officer arriving at the scene as a fight among an undetermined number of people is taking place.
Woods said a female with a knife attempts to stab one person who is on the ground, followed by a second who is pushed up against a vehicle. It is when the female goes to the second person against the car that the officer fires his weapon four times. The girl was taken to Mount Carmel East Hospital, where she later died.
Family members and Franklin County Children Services identified the victim as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. Police confirmed her name during Wednesday’s press conference.
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Ginther said. “We lost a 16-year-old girl in our city and I’m not just the mayor, I’m a father and each of the kids in this city are part of my responsibility and our collective responsibility and it was a tragic, tragic day.”
Franklin County Children Services said Bryant was a foster child under their care, calling her death “a tragic incident,” adding the organization is continuing its involvement with the family.
The investigation into the shooting is being handled by the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, as is now standard for all police shootings in Columbus.
The officer involved has not been named and is off the streets as the investigation continues.