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Ma’Khia Bryant: Police fatally shoot teenage girl in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus Police Shooting
Posted at 9:14 PM, Apr 20, 2021

Police in Columbus, Ohio, confirmed Tuesday evening that a teenage girl was shot and killed by an officer during an incident that afternoon.

Police said the girl was shot as she was wielding a knife and swinging it at another girl.

While police declined to release her name until next of kin had been notified, several local media outlets have identified the victim as Ma’Khia Bryant, citing family members. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther identified the victim as a 15-year-old girl, though other media outlets report that Ma'Khia was 16 years old.

According to The Associated Press, the officer was identified Wednesday as Nicholas Reardon.

In a Tuesday press conference, Columbus police report that officers were called to the scene at around 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday over reports of an attempted stabbing. When officers arrived on the scene, they encountered a scuffle between several girls.

Officials say an officer noticed that one of the girls, later identified as Ma'Khia, was holding a knife. After shoving one girl to the ground, she then turned and advanced on another girl who was standing near a parked vehicle.

Body camera footage shows Ma'Khia swinging the knife at the girl near the car. The video then shows the officer firing his gun what sounds like four times. The officer fired his weapon within 11 seconds of exiting his car.

Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said officers administered aid and CPR to Ma'Khia, but she was later pronounced dead. He added that the officer who fired the fatal shot has been "taken off the streets."

In a tweet, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther confirmed a "young woman" was shot and killed during an officer-involved shooting, but Ginther did not give her age.

"This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life. We do not know all of the details," Ginther said in a tweet. Ginther added that police were wearing bodycams, and they are working to review it "as soon as possible."

"BCI is on the scene conducting an independent investigation... as they do with all CPD-involved shootings," Ginther said. "We will share information that we can as soon as it becomes available. I’m asking for residents to remain calm and allow BCI to gather the facts."

Following the shooting, several activists protested near the Ohio State Capitol on Tuesday night calling for justice for Ma'Khia. The Columbus Dispatch also reports that about 50 people protested near the crime scene.

Tuesday's shooting took place just moments before a jury convicted a former police officer of murder in connection with the death of George Floyd. Floyd's death in May 2020 sparked several months of protest against systemic racism and police brutality.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting.

"It's tragic, she was a child," Psaki said. "We’re thinking of her family and the community grieving her loss.”