Officers responded to a home on Legion Lane at about 4:45 p.m. after a person called 911 to report females were trying to stab them, according to Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods.
The Columbus Division of Police released the body camera video during a news conference Tuesday night. (Click here to watch the video. WARNING: Video is graphic)
It shows a commotion in a front yard. The officer is seen walking up to a group of juveniles who start fighting. The officer yelled, “Get down” repeatedly before shooting the girl. Multiple gunshots can be heard on the video.
“You can see what the video shows is the female with the knife attempting to stab the first female that lands on the ground and then the second female who is pushed against the vehicle,” Woods said before playing the video in slow motion.
Woods said the information he released Tuesday night was not based on interviews with witnesses or officers. Those will be conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which will handle the criminal investigation.
“She came at her with a knife,” an officer is heard saying on the video.
Woods did not release the name of the deceased or say if she was the person who initially called 911. According to WCMH, family members at the scene identified her as Ma’Khia Bryant. Franklin County Children Services said Bryant was 16 and a foster child. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. indicated the girl was 15.
“The city of Columbus lost a 15-year-old girl today. We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community,” Ginther said. “But a family is grieving tonight. And this young 15-year-old girl will never be coming home.”
Pettus, who called the teen’s death a tragedy, asked residents to allow the investigation to proceed peacefully.
“Fast, quick answers cannot come at the cost of accurate answers,” Pettus said.
The shooting happened minutes before former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Floyd, 46, died May 25 after being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. His death sparked protests nationwide.