AKRON, Ohio — A homicide investigation is underway after a 17-year-old boy identified as a rising senior of Firestone Community Learning Center was found beaten to death near the basketball courts of the I PROMISE School in Akron late Thursday, according to a release from the Summit County Medical Examiner and the Akron Police Department.
On Thursday at approximately 10:45 p.m., officers responded to a call about a fight in the parking lot of the I PROMISE School in the 400 block of West Market Street.
Both police and EMS arrived within minutes of receiving the call about a fight at the courts, according to the news release. The victim, later identified as Ethan Liming, of Akron, was found unresponsive with severe injuries. He was pronounced at 11:05 p.m.
Police said that based on preliminary information, Liming was with a group of friends who pulled into the school parking lot. After arriving, the victim and his friends arrived at the basketball courts and were participating in some sort of horseplay, which may have triggered the response from the other group of three males who were already on the property playing basketball to engage them in a fight, police said.
"We were told that the males on the basketball court were playing basketball recreationally, so not seemingly bothering anyone at least at that point," Lt. Michael Miller said in an interview with News 5. "The victim [Liming] and/or the group that was with him – there a total of four inside the vehicle that they arrived in. And again, whether the suspect half-approached the car or members inside the car got out, but we do know in short order that...a fight ensued. And during that fight, the victim [Liming] was grounded – knocked to the ground – and then those significant injuries, etc. happened,"
Miller said his injuries "would suggest that there was a prolonged, intentional intent to assault him. Again, the detectives are trying to determine the full context of the why."
After the incident, the friends who were with the victim rushed home and called 911, which led to police responding to the scene.
A spokesperson for Akron Public Schools said in a statement Liming was a "student leader at his school and was in the Academy of Design there."
Our Akron Public Schools family expresses its deepest condolences and offers its prayers to the family and friends of a student who lost his life last night. We mourn as one for Ethan Liming, a 17 year old rising senior at Firestone Community Learning Center. Ethan was a student leader at his school and was in the Academy of Design there.
The death of a student affects all of Akron Public Schools. Ethan’s passing is, sadly, one of many we have experienced during this school year. May we all pause a moment from our daily pressures to give thanks for the lives of these children. May we forever find ways to keep our memories of them alive. Each of these losses reminds us about how precious, and sometimes fleeting, life can be.
Our crisis team is assisting staff at Firestone CLC and, as always, will make themselves available to students.
Miller said they are asking anyone who may have been present but maybe didn't take part in the fight to contact the department with information.
"Again, this young man sustained, very substantial, significant brutal injuries that essentially a common fight because you take exception to something that group may have done that outcome nowhere near matches what happened to him and so to that extent, he didn't deserve that and we wish that the family wouldn't be experiencing the pain that they are at this point," Miller said.
David Lang, who's Liming's uncle, said his nephew was a positive person who loved playing sports. He played football and was on the honor roll. He had dreams of playing college football.
"Last time I spoke with him, he talked about me wanting to go to Ohio State. It's just, a big shock. A great kid."
Lang said his family is still trying to process everything and is asking the community and anyone with information to come forward.
"If anybody, anyone has any info, knows anything, please step forward. This is senseless. No reason for it at all. Please step forward. This is just ridiculous," he said.
Detectives don't have many descriptive details on the three males involved, but police believe the three males are in their late teens to early 20s.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip.
The I PROMISE School was created by Akron native and basketball superstar LeBron James. The innovative school has 535 students and offers a food pantry, a GED program for parents and legal support. It focuses on helping children who have fallen behind in education with the goal of keeping at-risk kids from falling through the cracks.
Our condolences goes out to the family who lost a loved one!! My the heavens above watch over you during this tragedy! Pray for our community! 💚👑 https://t.co/bpq5qsoNfO— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2022
The LeBron James Family Foundation issued the following statement:
Our community is everything to us. We were devastated to learn of the overnight incident that saw a life lost near our school. We are grieving with our community over another senseless act of violence. Our campus is safe and secure as we continue to do everything we can to support our students, families, and the entire Akron community.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses. CLICK HERE for more info.
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