Three people were arrested over the weekend in connection with the death of Ethan Liming, a 17-year-old from Ohio who was beaten to death in early June in an apparent reaction to a water gun prank.
Deshawn Stafford, 20; Tyler Stafford, 19; and Donovan Jones, 21, were arrested on 11 June, according to Akron police.
Officials had been searching for answers after Liming was found unresponsive in a parking lot outside of Lebron James’s I Promise School in Akron on 2 June.
An unknown caller alerted police to a fight underway around 10:45pm that night, according to officials.
“Ethan Liming lost his life in a senseless act of violence. Ethan did not deserve to die Saturday night. He did not,” Akron police chief Stephern Mylett said in a press conference after the death.
The fight occurred after Liming and a group of associates arrived at the school and began shooting a toy SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster at a group playing basketball nearby.
Liming’s injuries suggested a “prolonged, intentional intent to assault him,” police have said.
Liming was white, while the three individuals arrested are Black, according to police.
“There is nothing that we have in our possession right now, any indication at all, indicating that race played a role in this homicide. Nothing,” Mr Mylett said during the press conference.
Liming’s parents lamented the loss of their son.
“We would do anything we could possibly do to turn the clock back and have him in my arms again. And to see his face again, but they robbed me of even that ability. And they destroyed my child’s face and his head,” Bill Liming told News 5 Cleveland. “People keep saying, ‘Oh, you do these things and you get what you deserve.’ I don’t think anybody’s child would ever deserve what happened to him. Nobody’s child would deserve what they did to my child.”
Officials in Akron condemned the violence.
“Ethan Liming was a young man with a full life ahead of him, and that bright future was senselessly taken from him in the most brutal of ways. This type of violence in our community has ripple effects that touch each person, including myself, in profound ways, and I know the city of Akron is in mourning because of this tremendous loss,” mayor Daniel Horrigan said in a statement last week.
Liming dreamed of being a lawyer, and a scholarship is being set up in his name through Akron Public Schools.