The officer behind the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant has been identified. According to USA Today, authorities named Officer Nicholas Reardon as the gunman responsible for the teen’s death.
Reardon reportedly started working with the Columbus Police Department back in 2019. His duties have been halted as he’s been placed on leave pending an investigation into the fatal incident.
While many awaited the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, Bryant found herself in need of immediate assistance from cops. According to the teen’s aunt, she had gotten into a physical altercation with a group of women at her foster home and grabbed a knife to defend herself.
She called 911 twice to report that a girl was trying to stab her. Reardon was one of the few officers who responded to the scene.
Based on recently released body cam footage of the encounter, Reardon approached a group of people who were standing by a driveway. Bryant struck one of the individuals, who fell to the ground. When the teen wielded her knife at another girl, the officer rang fire, and she was shot.
A crowd quickly gathered around the teen and took their frustration out on officers. “Why’d you shoot her?” one bystander said in the video. “You didn’t have to shoot her.”
Medics were called, and Bryant was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition. She was later pronounced dead.
Though Bryant’s aunt maintains that her niece dropped the firearm before she was shot, an investigation into the shooting remains active.
“I understand the outrage and emotion around this incident,” Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr said during a recent press conference. “A teenage girl is dead, and she’s dead at the hands of a police officer. Under any circumstances, that is a horrendous tragedy. But the video shows that there is more to this. It requires us to pause and 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.”