Over 200 joined a vigil for 13-year-old Ty’re King on September 15.

On Thursday evening family, friends, and neighbors of 13-year-old Ty’re King gathered in a field on South 18th Avenue in the Near East Side, close to where King was killed by Columbus police Wednesday evening. Over 200 joined the vigil, including the Columbus Day Stars, King’s middle school football team.

Police say that King was fleeing officers who were investigating an armed robbery, and pulled out what appeared to be a handgun. He was shot multiple times by officer Bryan Mason, a nine-year veteran of the Columbus Police Department. A toy pellet gun was recovered at the scene.

“Ty’re King was a 13-year-old boy,” said Amber Evans of the People’s Justice Project. “For black children, playing with toy guns is considered being armed in the eyes of police. But it’s not the same for white children.”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther “said that the community needs to step up,” Evans said. “We are the only ones who are doing something about it! The accountability for the loss of Ty’re King is with the city of Columbus, Mayor Ginther, Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, City Council President Zach Klein, Police Chief Kim Jacobs, and Attorney General Mike DeWine.”

The mother of Deaunte Bell, and Adrienne Hood, mother of Henry Green offered words of sympathy and encouragement to Ty’re King’s family. Bell and Green were young black men killed by Columbus police in the past year.

“This is an opportunity for us to really come together, to really deal with racism that nobody wants to talk about,” said Adrienne Hood. “It’s alive in this country! Until we have that conversation, we can’t do anything about it.”

Two neighbors said that parents should be more vigilant and young black males should make better choices, reflecting statements by Andrew Ginther and Kim Jacobs in a press conference earlier in the day. “Why is it that a 13-year-old would have nearly an exact replica of a police firearm on him?” Ginther told reporters, referring to Ty’re King as “an eighth grader involved in very, very dangerous conduct in one of our neighborhoods.”

Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiata, organizer for the People’s Justice Project, isn’t buying that narrative. “It’s never the people’s fault when they get murdered by the state,” he said.