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US police officer shoots, kills teenage Black girl holding knife

As verdict delivered in George Floyd killing, Columbus cop fires at girl as she appears to try to stab 2 people, drawing protest

A crowd gathers to protest in the neighborhood where a Columbus police officer fatally shot a teenage girl who appeared to be trying to stab others, April 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
A crowd gathers to protest in the neighborhood where a Columbus police officer fatally shot a teenage girl who appeared to be trying to stab others, April 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — US police shot and killed a teenage girl Tuesday afternoon in Columbus just as the verdict was being announced in the trial for the killing of George Floyd.

Police showed bodycam footage Tuesday night at a news conference of the officer shooting the girl, who was Black, as she appeared to attempt to stab two people with a knife.

A black-handled blade resembling a kitchen knife or steak knife appeared to be lying on the sidewalk next to her immediately after she was shot and fell.

State law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such an instance, Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said at the news conference.

Officers had responded to an attempted stabbing call when police shot the girl at about 4:45 p.m., police said. The 911 caller reported a female was trying to stab them before hanging up, they said.

The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

It’s unclear whether anyone else was injured.

“This afternoon a young woman tragically lost her life,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther tweeted.

He later said at the news conference, “We know based on this footage the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community.”

A crowd gathers in front of the Ohio Statehouse during a protest, April 20, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Police who answered the department’s phone and officers on scene were not immediately able to provide details to The Associated Press.

A crowd had gathered Tuesday night at the scene on Legion Lane, which police had partially blocked off to traffic. Others gathered at the city’s police headquarters to protest, a week after officers pepper-sprayed a group that tried to enter the headquarters over the police killing of a man who had a gun in a hospital emergency room.

Hundreds of protesters pushed past police barriers outside the headquarters and approached officers as city officials were showing the bodycam video inside. Many chanted, “Say her name!” While others signified the victim’s age by yelling, “she was just a kid.” Officers with bicycles pushed protesters back and threatened to deploy pepper spray on the crowd.

The girl’s name and age were being withheld while her family is notified, police said.

The shooting happened about 25 minutes before a judge read the verdict convicting former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the killing of Floyd.

Kimberly Shepherd, 50, who has lived in the neighborhood for 17 years, said she knew the victim.

“The neighborhood has definitely went through its changes, but nothing like this,” Shepherd said of the shooting. “But this is the worst thing that has ever happened out here and unfortunately it is at the hands of police.”

Shepherd and her neighbor Jayme Jones, 51, had celebrated the guilty verdict of Chauvin. But things changed quickly, she said.

“We were happy about the verdict. But you couldn’t even enjoy that,” Shepherd said. “Because as you’re getting one phone call that he was guilty, I’m getting the next phone call that this is happening in my neighborhood.”

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