Editor’s note: Mayor Ginter held a Wednesday press conference on the fatal Columbus Police shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant; more body camera footage was released.
COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Body camera footage released by Columbus Police shows the moment an officer opened fire on a 16-year-old girl Tuesday in east Columbus, killing her.
During an evening press conference Tuesday, Interim Chief of Police Michael Woods said the video shows the officer acted to save the life of another young girl.
Woods said the incident began at approximately 4:32 p.m. when 911 received a call about a group of women trying to stab the caller and “put their hands on them.” Woods said dispatchers tried to get information about weapons, but didn’t get that information.
The video shows the officer arriving at the scene as a fight between 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.
An officer then provides medical aid to the girl who was shot.
Woods said the department released the footage as quickly as it could in an effort to be transparent with the public.
Woods did not identify the victim, but family said she was 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. She was transported to Mount Carmel East, where she was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m.
A statement released by Franklin County Family Services said Bryant was a foster child under the care of Franklin County Family Services, calling her death “a tragic incident,” adding the organization is continuing its involvement with the family.
“We know, based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community, but a family is grieving tonight and this young 15-year-old girl will never be coming home,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said during the press briefing.
Woods said the department was very limited in what information it could release.
“This is still very new and still gathering information that we can gather, but most of that information will be done by BCI,” he said. “We want to be sure that independent review from them, that we stay out of their way, and we provide the information that they request from us.”
Woods did not release the name of the officer, but said he is off the streets.
The state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is conducting the investigation into the shooting.
“Deadly force can be used to protect yourself or the protection of a third person, so that’s within the policy and that is within the law,” Woods said during the briefing. “That is what the law says. Whether this complies with that will be part of that investigation.”
Ginther issued a tweet early Tuesday evening.