The clash that led to Ethan Liming Thursday night’s death began when his group of four teenagers pulled over in a car and started shooting a SplatRBall water bead gel gun at four people playing basketball outside the school I Promise.
Akron Police Chief Stephane Mylet Liming, 17, told a press conference Wednesday that he was with three other teenagers of the same age.
At least two of the four fired the toy gun, which shoots small water-filled balls, down the field towards the basketball players. The players fled as two of Liming’s group ran in their direction.
The players then turned, ran backwards and confronted the teenagers at their car, which resulted in a fight, Mylett said. Liming and two of his friends were assaulted.
“In the end, Ethan Liming died,” Mylett said.
Under the circumstances, Mylett said, “Ethan Liming didn’t deserve to die that night at that time, as far as we know now.”
Mayor Dan Horrigan called Liming’s death a “senseless act of violence.” He and Mylett offered their condolences to the teenager’s family.
Mylett thanked the public for providing viable advice that helped police move the case forward, but said no arrests have been made. Since Thursday, detectives have received a lot of information from the public, he said.
“We are following leads. Hopefully we will identify the suspects soon,” he said. “We’re not going to go into detail about who we think the suspects are.”
The chief pointed out that there was no evidence that race played a role in Liming’s death.
“Nothing,” he said. “I want to reassure the community that if we receive any information that race played a role in this, as in any homicide, we will consult with our prosecutors and add additional charges. This is a senseless act of violence in our city. .”
Liming’s group included two white teenagers and two black teenagers. He said the press conference was aimed at correcting misinformation in the community.
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Mylett said he saw video recordings in the school area at the time of the incident, but declined to provide details.
The chief said he did not want to compromise the investigation and was limited in what he could divulge. He said the current narrative of what happened may change as detectives interview more people and collect additional evidence.
Police were on the scene less than three minutes after receiving a 911 call at 10.46 p.m. about the incident, with fire and rescue services arriving soon after, he said. Despite their efforts, Liming died at the scene, the chief said. No one was with the teenager when police arrived, he said.
The non-lethal guns mentioned by Mylett fire water gel pellets that are propelled by a spring-loaded air pump mechanism. Gel guns, also called gel blasters, are often used in paintball type encounters.
Mylett said the “water beads” explode like a small water balloon when they hit a target.
“That’s what we think the occupants of the vehicle were using,” Mylett said, pointing to a SplatRBall gun in a different color than the one used. “That’s something that is obviously concerning.”
According to the retail box, the gun can fire up to seven water gel pellets per second and is intended for use by ages 14 and older.
Police said they recovered the pellet gun from the scene of Liming’s death and added in a press release that there were indications the group had fired the toy gun elsewhere in the area before surrendering. at I Promise School.
Toy guns have created problems in other communities where TikTok users meet challenges to capture videos using the gun. Mylett said he was not aware of any other similar use of gel guns in Akron.
Pellets are known to injure unprotected eyes and are commonly used in agriculture to provide moisture to things such as potted plants.
Gel guns can look like real lethal weapons, including handguns and rifles. The weapon model used on Thursday evening did not resemble these weapons.
Police are asking anyone with information to call detectives at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip; call Summit County Crime Stoppers at 330-434-COPS; or text TIPSCO with advice to 274637. Callers can remain anonymous.
Beacon Journal reporter Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or [email protected] Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Akron police provide update on death of Ethan Liming, investigation ongoing