- Ethan Liming, 17, was killed after he and a group of juveniles targeted people with a water gun.
- Three adult males were arrested on murder and felonious assault charges in connection with Liming’s death.
- Police said the juveniles “provoked the altercation” but that the attack was not “remotely justified.”
An Ohio teenager was beaten to death after he and a group of teenagers shot at people with a water gun, police said.
Authorities were called to the scene of a fight at the I Promise School established by LeBron James’ foundation on June 2 at 10:46 p.m., Akron Police Department Chief Stephen Mylett said.
When officers arrived, they found 17-year-old Ethan Liming lying on the ground in the parking lot, unresponsive. They tried to render aid, but Liming was pronounced dead on the scene, Mylett said.
“Ethan Liming lost his life in a senseless act of violence. Ethan did not deserve to die Saturday night. He did not,” Mylett said in a press conference.
According to preliminary interviews conducted by police, Mylett said Liming was among a group of four juveniles who arrived in the lot near the basketball courts.
“Shortly after their arrival, they got out of their vehicle, and at least two members of occupants of the vehicle started discharging a, what we know now to be a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster,” Mylett said. “They started discharging it at the direction of four individuals who were playing basketball on the basketball court.”
The individuals playing basketball initially ran away as the two juveniles ran in their direction. Then, the juveniles ran back to their car and were followed by the group of four, Mylett said at the press conference.
“A confrontation occurs. Ethan Liming is assaulted, and a fight ensues. At the conclusion of it, Ethan Liming is dead,” Mylett said.
He noted that a 911 call was placed from the scene, but no one else was there when police arrived three minutes later.
“The collective actions of the teens in the car appear to have unfortunately provoked the altercation,” Mylett said in a press update on June 8. “While these actions appear to have played a role in the incident, investigators do not believe the attack or the murder were remotely justified.”
According to News 5 Cleveland, authorities arrested three suspects on June 11 on murder and felonious assault charges: Deshawn Stafford, 20; Tyler Stafford, 19; and Donovan Jones, 21.
Mylett said in the press conference and the update that authorities had no information to indicate the attack was race-related. Liming was white, and the three suspects arrested in connection with his death are Black.
“There is nothing that we have in our possession right now, any indication at all, indicating that race played a role in this homicide. Nothing,” Mylett said during the press conference.
Liming’s parents, Bill and Jennifer, told News 5 that they miss their child.
“We would do anything we could possibly do to turn the clock back and have him in my arms again. And to see his face again, but they robbed me of even that ability. And they destroyed my child’s face and his head,” Bill Liming told the outlet.
He added: “People keep saying, ‘Oh, you do these things and you deserve you get what you deserve.’ I don’t think anybody’s child would ever deserve what happened to him. Nobody’s child would deserve what they did to my child,”