On Thursday evening, friends, family and community members gathered for a vigil to remember the 13-year-old Ohio boy who was gunned down by police after allegedly pulling out a BB gun, CNN reports.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, more than 150 people, including Tyre’s youth football teammates, gathered for the candlelight vigil near the area in the Near East Side neighborhood where the teen was killed.
“My eyes are still swollen and my head still hurts,” Marshay Caldwell, Tyre’s 13-year-old sister, said. “He’s really not coming back.
“He didn’t deserve to die,” Marshay added.
Tyre died at the hospital after being shot multiple times by a white police officer Wednesday. The shooting will be investigated to determine whether it was justified, CNN reports.
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said that the eighth-grader had a BB gun that “looks practically identical” to the type of handgun carried by Columbus police.
“This is the last thing that a police officer wants to do in their career. Unfortunately … it becomes necessary at times to defend themselves,” Jacobs said.
The officer who shot Tyre was identified as Bryan Mason, a nine-year veteran, who will be placed on leave for at least a week pending an investigation, Jacobs said.
According to the Dispatch, authorities say that Tyre and others robbed a man at gunpoint for $10 before running away. While being chased by police, authorities say they saw Tyre remove a gun from his waistband. That gun turned out to have been a BB gun.
However, attorneys representing the teen’s family said that police are describing behavior “out of his normal character.”
“There are allegations that have been made regarding his actions, and those allegations cannot be taken as factual until a thorough, unbiased investigation has taken place,” Sean Walton, one of the lawyers with the family, said.
Walton said that there are witnesses who contradict the police narrative.
“Tyre was a child who was loved and cherished by his family,” attorney Chanda L. Brown said of the teen, who played football, hockey, soccer and also did gymnastics.
On Wednesday night, a man reported to police that he had been robbed at gunpoint. Officers eventually came upon three people who matched the suspects’ descriptions. Police say two of those people, including Tyre, took off on foot. When officers caught up with the two, Tyre allegedly pulled out what has now been identified as a BB gun with a laser sight, and was shot and killed.
The gun “turns out not to be a firearm in the sense that it fires real bullets, but … it looks like a firearm that can kill you,” Jacbos said at a Thursday news conference, holding up a picture of the type of BB gun that police say was involved.
Mason, the officer who shot Tyre, has fatally shot someone while on duty before. According to CNN, in 2012 Mason responded to a 911 call at a Columbus home and fatally shot an armed man. According to police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner, that shooting was found to be within department policy, and so Mason was not disciplined.