A 16-year-old girl was shot and killed by a police officer Tuesday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio, police said.
Police said they were responding to a report of an attempted stabbing in the southern part of the city around 4:30 p.m. local time and that the shooting happened shortly thereafter.
The victim, identified by Franklin County Children Services as Ma’Khia Bryant, was taken to the hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead just before 5:30 p.m. The FCCS said Bryant was a foster child under their care.
“She could be my grandchild,” Ned Pettus, director of the Columbus Department of Public Safety, said at a press conference. “My heart breaks for the family tonight. No matter the circumstances, that family is in agony. … They deserve answers, the city deserves answers. … But fast answers cannot come at the expense of accurate answers.”
Pettus said if the law was broken the police officer will be held accountable.
Police held a press conference late Tuesday where they showed body camera footage of the incident. In the video, the officer is seen approaching a fight involving several teenage girls.
Police said, and the slow motion video appeared to show, that the officer shot the teen just as she was “attempting to stab the first female that lands on the ground and then the second female that is pushed onto the vehicle.”
“She was a good kid. She was loving,” Hazel Bryant, who said she was the victim’s aunt, told Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX near the scene of the shooting. “Yeah, she had issues, but that’s OK. … She didn’t deserve to die like a dog on the street.”
A review of the shooting will be conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther confirmed the news of the shooting on Twitter.
“This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life,” he wrote. “We do not know all of the details. There is body-worn camera footage of the incident. We 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.
“We will share information that we can as soon as it becomes available,” he continued. “I’m asking for residents to remain calm and allow BCI to gather the facts.”
People gathered near the scene of the shooting as night fell and later marched through Columbus and outside the police department.
The shooting came about an hour before former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second- and third-degree murder in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
Police initially said Ma’Khia was 15 years old, but Franklin County Children Services later said she was 16.
ABC News’ Matt Foster contributed to this report.
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