Columbus police and city officials have released additional details about Tuesday's fatal police shooting of a teenager. And a warning this story contains audio of the shooting.
Columbus authorities released two 911 calls and three additional police body camera videos including footage from officer Nicholas Reardon, who shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. As Reardon enters the scene, the footage shows Bryant pushing one person down and lunging at another with a knife.
Public Safety director Ned Pettus called it a horrendous tragedy but added that the video shows there's more to consider.
"It requires us to pause, take a close look at the sequence of events and though it's not easy, wait for the facts as determined by an independent investigation," Pettus continued. "We have to ask ourselves what information did the officer have, what did he see, how much time did he have to assess the situation, and what would have happened if he had taken no action at all."
Pettus added that fast facts should not come at the cost of complete and accurate facts. With Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducting the probe, officials were hesitant to comment on the specifics of this case. But Interim Chief Michael Woods did respond to the policy and training regarding when officers can use deadly force and where they can shoot.
"When officers are faced with someone employing deadly force, deadly force can be the response the officer gives," Woods said. "We don't train to shoot the leg because that's a small target. We train to shoot center mass, the largest part of a body that is available to them. When you try to start shooting legs or arms, rounds miss and then they continue on and there are people behind that who could be in danger that are not committing anything. So we try and minimize any danger to anyone else if we have to use our firearm."
Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther stressed that the city will continue to release information as it becomes available because transparency and accountability are critical. Ginther says in addition to reimagining safety in Columbus, there's a larger issue to address - preventing the violence before officers have to arrive on a scene.
"And it's going to require all of us to do more to invest in our young people and make sure that they have positive, programmatic pathways to a brighter future," Ginther continued. "There are so many young people right now that are hopeless. They feel like they don't count, don't matter, and there's no impact on their future. They continue to see their friends shot and killed. There is a hopelessness out there amongst young people, and that's something collectively as a community we're going to have to address."
Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin wrote in a statement that the city needs to change its training and hiring process, push for a new culture where guns are not the final answer to every threat, and implement a new vision of safety in Columbus. He concluded that nothing will ever bring Ma'Khia Bryant back or console those who loved her.