High school student beaten to death after water gun prank

·3-min read

Three people have been arrested in relation to the death of a teenager who was fatally beaten outside a school.

On June 2, Ethan Liming, 17, and his friends were allegedly shooting people with a toy water pistol.

Police allege an alleged physical altercation broke out between Ethan's group and another group.

At around 10.45pm, police were dispatched to the parking lot east of a basketball court at a school in Akron, Ohio.

Ethan was found unresponsive when police arrived and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ethan Liming was killed after an altercation outside a school. Source: Facebook
Ethan Liming was killed after an altercation outside a school. Source: Facebook

On June 11, the US Marshals Service confirmed Deshawn Stafford Jr, 20, Tyler Stafford, 19, and Donovon Jones, 21, had been arrested in connection to Ethan's death.

"We will continue to follow any leads that will result in bringing those responsible for Ethan’s death to justice," Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said in a statement.

"While I believe the news of the arrests will be welcomed by Ethan’s family and loved ones, we all recognise that nothing will bring Ethan back.

"Violence in this country must stop. We are losing too many lives to senseless acts of violence.”

In a previous statement, Akron Police said the water gun used by Ethan and his friends was recovered from the scene.

Ethan and his teenage friends were using a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster, shooting at "objects and possibly unsuspecting people".

Three men were arrested following a police investigation into Ethan Liming's death. Source: Akron Police Department
Three men were arrested following a police investigation into Ethan Liming's death. Source: Akron Police Department

The teenagers then headed in the direction of the basketball court and police said it appears they targeted or approached the subjects who were on the court and then fired at them with the water bead gun.

"The collective actions of the teens in the car appear to have unfortunately provoked the altercation," police said.

"While these actions appear to have played a role in the incident, investigators do not believe the attack or the murder were remotely justified."

Ethan Liming and his friends allegedly shot a water bead gun at objects and people before the fatal confrontation. Source: Akron Police Department
Ethan Liming and his friends allegedly shot a water bead gun at objects and people before the fatal confrontation. Source: Akron Police Department

Police claim the incident was not racially motivated and it was previously reported Ethan's group included two white teenagers and two black teenagers.

Deshawn Stafford, Tyler Stafford, and Donovan Jones have all pleaded not guilty to the assault and murder charges, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Defence attorney Jon Sinn said the three men initially ran after seeing a car pull up with an apparent automatic weapon being pointed at them.

The occupants of the vehicle then pursued them and the confrontation happened after the three men realised they weren't being hit with real bullets.

Earlier this year two teenagers and a parent were charged after children were hit with a similar water gun in the state of Georgia.

Ethan's death comes weeks after a spate of mass shootings in the US, which likely had many people on edge.

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