AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – The Akron police chief hosted a press conference Wednesday afternoon related to the beating death of a teenager last Thursday.
Chief Stephen Mylett, along with Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, said the purpose of the presser was to clear up any rumors swirling in the community since the incident.
“There were assumptions made that this was a race-related incident,” Mylett said. “There is nothing that we have in our possession right now, any information at all indicating race played a role in this homicide. Nothing. I want to reassure the community, that if we do receive information that race played a role in this, as in any homicide, we will consult with our prosecuting attorneys and add additional charges.”
Last week, Ethan Liming, 17, was found near the basketball courts of the I Promise School, a public elementary school for at-risk children, which is supported by the LeBron James Family Foundation. He died after suffering blunt force head injury. The police investigation remains ongoing and have not made any arrests.
Akron Police said the teenager and his friends were involved in a fight the evening of his death with a group of males who were playing basketball on the property. Liming was knocked unconscious and pronounced dead at the scene.
At the press conference, authorities explained they believe Liming was riding around with three others that night in a vehicle. One or more of them were reportedly using a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster [a type of water gun] potentially against “unsuspecting people.” Police said they believe the teens approached the suspects in this incident and shot them with the gel soft gun, which led to the ensuing fight.
Police also said they have video evidence of the incident, but didn’t want to give specific details.
“It was a senseless act of violence in our city yet again,” Mylett said. “We have a lot of work to do in this city as the country does at large.”
Tuesday, Liming’s family questioned the safety of the area and encouraged people who can help in the investigation to come forward.
Summit County Crimestoppers is offering up to a $5,000 reward for tips in the case. Anyone with information should contact Akron police at (330) 212-7102, or Crimestoppers at (330) 434-COPS. Callers can remain anonymous.