A Columbus, Ohio, police officer shot and killed a Black teenage girl Tuesday afternoon after she attempted to cut two females with a knife, according to officials and body camera footage shown to the media.
The girl’s mother, Paula Bryant, and the Franklin County Children’s Services identified the girl as Ma’Khia Bryant. Although local law enforcement identified her as 15-years-old in a press conference Tuesday, the FCCS gave the girl’s age as 16.
“Ma’Khia was a foster child, who was under the care of Franklin County Children Services,” the FCCS said in a statement. “This was a tragic incident and FCCS is continuing its involvement with the family throughout this difficult time.”
Police responded to a 4:32 p.m. call indicating “females were there trying to stab them and put their hands on them,” Columbus Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said Tuesday night.
Officials responded to the location and, according to bodycam footage from the first officer on the scene, the officer approaches a group of individuals in the driveway outside a home.
The video shows the teen quickly move toward another girl with what appears to be a knife and the girl falls to the ground. The officer yells, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, Get down!” before she appears to lunge at a second girl with the knife, according to the video.
The officer tells her to “Get Down! Get down! Get down! Get down!” and then fires four shots in the direction of the teenager.
One officer attends to the shooting victim, who police are not identifying. Officers assessed the woman for injuries and summoned a medic, as is protocol, Woods said.
Police did not have any information on whether the two other individuals were injured, Woods said.
The officer will be taken off the street while an investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office takes place, Woods added. The investigation then goes to the Franklin County Grand Jury and then back to the police department for an internal review, Woods said.
“We know based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said during the news conference. “But a family is grieving tonight and this young 15-year-old girl will never be coming home.”
“Ma’Khia had a motherly nature about her. She promoted peace. That is something that I want to always be remembered,” Bryant told TV station WBNS.
After the shooting, a crowd gathered at the scene. Some were saying “enough is enough” and calling for the body camera video, according to CNN affiliate WSYX-TV
The shooting comes the same day former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the murder of George Floyd.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump tweeted, “As we breathed a collective sigh of relief today, a community in Columbus felt the sting of another police shooting.”