Columbus police chief explains why teen girl was not shot in leg during fatal encounter


A 16-year-old girl was shot by police in Columbus during an altercation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Columbus officials gathered for a news conference Wednesday after the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old girl by a police officer.

Officers were sent to Legion Lane in Columbus around 4:32 p.m. Tuesday after a 911 call about a group of women trying to stab the caller and “put their hands on them,” according to Interim Chief of Police Michael Woods. Video released Tuesday night shows an officer arriving at the scene as a fight among an undetermined number of people is taking place.

Woods said a girl with a knife, later identified as 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, attempted to stab one person who is on the ground, followed by a second who is pushed up against a vehicle. It is when Bryant goes to the second person against the car that the officer fires his weapon four times. Bryant was taken to Mount Carmel East Hospital, where she later died.

During the press conference Wednesday, a reporter asked Woods why the police officer would not first try to stop Bryant by shooting her in the leg.

Woods said that is not what they are trained to do.

“One of the difficult things with that is we don’t train to shoot the leg because that’s a small target. We train to shoot center mass to what is available to stop that threat,” Woods said. “There was a threat going on, a deadly force threat that was going on, so the officer was trained to shoot center mass – the largest part of a body that is available to them. When you try and start shooting legs or arms, rounds miss and they continue on and there are people behind that who could be in danger that are not committing anything, so we try to minimize danger to anyone else if we have to use our firearm.”

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