A high school senior, who was just entering his senior year, was brutally beat to death in front of an Ohio school that LeBron James' foundation had built.
Ethan Liming (17 years old) died in a fight at the I Promise School in Akron. This incident, which police call a "senseless act violence," was reported by police.
Liming was with his friends in a car, shooting at people using a toy gun. Then, a fight broke out between Liming's group and another group.
Officers responded to a call for a fight at the 400 West Market Street parking lot, east of the I Promise School basketball court, around 10:45 on Thursday.
They arrived to find Liming, a boy later identified as Liming lying unresponsive on the ground.
Liming received aid, but the efforts of Liming were in vain. Ethan was declared dead at the scene by Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett during a Wednesday news conference.
According to the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, he died of blunt force head injuries and homicide.
Mylett shared Wednesday's preliminary account of Liming's death.
Police said that Liming and four other juveniles were driving around Liming's vehicle, shooting a SplatRBall Water Beadblaster gel gun at objects and possibly unsuspecting persons.
Mylett stated that the gun's beads explode with water "like water balloons."
Two occupants of the vehicle arrived at the school's parking lot around 10.40 p.m., and they began shooting the gel gun towards four basketball players on the nearby court.
The four basketball players began to run, and the vehicle's two occupants appeared to follow them. It is unclear if Liming was one or the other. Mylett stated that the two basketball players ran towards the car as they returned to their vehicle moments later.
"A confrontation takes place. Mylett stated that Ethan Liming is attacked and there is a fight. Ethan Liming is pronounced dead at the end of the fight.
He added that three of Liming's four passengers were attacked in the confrontation.
Akron police stated that the "collective actions of the teens in car appear to have unfortunately caused the altercation," adding that "investigators don't believe the attack or murder were remotely justified."
Liming was a senior at Firestone Community Learning Center. He was also enrolled in the Academy of Design. Christine Fowler Mack, Superintendent of Akron Public Schools, stated in a statement to staff and faculty after Liming's death.
"Ethan was an athlete and a school leader...and a young man with bright future." In a statement she shared with NBC News, she said that the circumstances surrounding his death will be with us for a long time.
Liming's father Bill, a minister, said to WKYC, NBC affiliate of Cleveland, "My son died due to a doll." And just playing around as a teenager."
Liming described his son as his "sidekick". Liming was a baseball and football player, and had a 14 year-old brother and three step-siblings.
"His little brother is devastated. Noah idolized Ethan, his big brother. He cannot sleep in his bed. Ethan's bed is his only hope. His father stated that he was devastated.
The Akron community was shaken by the incident.
LeBron James Family Foundation stated that it was shocked to hear about the "overnight incident" that resulted in the loss of a child near their school.
"We are grieving together with our community for another senseless act de violence."
Officials said $25,000 of the $30,000 offered to help in the identification, arrest, and prosecution any persons responsible for Liming’s death is from a private donor. Summit County Crimestoppers Inc. pays the rest.