AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Police Department held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on the death of Ethan Liming, a 17-year-old senior at Firestone Community Learning Center who was savagely beaten to death last week near the I PROMISE School.
Police held a question and answer session with reporters to discuss details of the case.
You can watch the news conference in the media player below:
What we know
On June 2, 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.
According to Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett, Liming arrived at the parking lot with several other individuals in a car.
"Shortly after their arrival, they got out of the vehicle, and at least two members of occupants of the vehicle started discharging what we know now to be a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster gel gun. They started discharging it at the direction of four individuals who were playing basketball on the basketball court. The four individuals on the basketball court started running away, and it appears that two of the occupants of the vehicle started running in their direction. Moments later, two occupants of the vehicle are seeing trotting back to their vehicle. The four people who had been on the basketball court are also seen running in the direction of the vehicle in the parking lot. A confrontation occurs. Ethan Liming is assaulted, and a fight ensues. At the conclusion of it, Ethan Liming is dead," Mylett said.
Both police and EMS arrived within minutes of receiving the call about a fight at the courts. A victim, later identified as Liming, was found unresponsive with severe injuries. He was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m. The toy gun and other evidence were collected at the scene.
Police said that "the collective actions of the teens in the car appear to have unfortunately provoked the altercation" and that "while these actions appear to have played a role in the incident, investigators do not believe the attack or the murder were remotely justified."
According to police, Liming's injuries "would suggest that there was a prolonged, intentional intent to assault him."
Police do not believe race was a factor in the attack.
The reward for information that leads to an arrest and indictment for the beating death of Liming has increased by $25,000.
According to Summit County Crimestoppers, several private donors who would like to remain anonymous, are offering $25,000 for information that leads to an arrest and indictment of anyone responsible for his death. With the $5,000 reward being offered by crime stoppers, the total reward is $30,000.
RELATED: Reward increases to $30,000 for information on beating death of Akron senior Ethan Liming
A family seeking answers
News 5 spoke with the teen's father, Bill Liming, on Wednesday. He is hoping someone comes forward with information police can use to find their son's killer. Liming said he's not sure if his son was also shooting the toy water gun.
"People have a misconception about what those [the water pellet gun] are. They're these little tiny balls that you put in water, and they absorb water. And when you shoot, it's kind of like getting shot by a rubber band gun. It's a toy that you can buy in a toy store, and it puts a little wet spot on your shirt. Apparently, two of his friends were running around the parking lot, just goofing around being teenagers. And perhaps that initiated the altercation. My son should not be murdered and brutally murdered and beaten to death because of a toy," Liming said. "It makes me sick. It makes me sick. To know that my son's life was lost because of that."
He continued, "Whether he was or not, you don't lose your life over a toy gun. And if somebody thought it was a real gun, they wouldn't be alive today. If it was a real gun, they would have been shot. It wasn't a real gun. It was a toy. It was teenagers being teenagers."
Liming said his son was a good person who loved helping others and that he did not deserve to be beaten to death. You can hear more from his parents in the video below.
Police have not released specific descriptions of the suspects.
"Somebody knows something. We just want accurate information to be out there about my child. And just so that my son's name won't disappear. The reason why I'm doing these interviews is so that you guys will keep paying attention. So, I just want people to pay attention. To somebody to come forward and have some courage and have some character, some conscience and help our family." Liming said.
They miss their son, his death haunts them, and they want answers.
"We miss our child. 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. And people think that he deserved—people keep saying, 'Oh, you do these things and you deserve 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," Liming said.
A city mourns
Akron Mayor Don Horrigan released the following statement about the teen's death:
"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. I want to express my sincere condolences to Ethan's family, friends, teachers, classmates, coworkers, and everyone whose life was touched by his light. There is no justification for this murder, and I implore anyone with information to please come forward and help Ethan and his family get the justice they deserve."
The chief said the city is following every lead it has to solve the case and hopes to offer an update on that front "soon."
"This incident is yet another senseless loss of human life in Akron. Ethan Liming did not deserve to lose his life...We mourn his loss and grieve alongside the Liming family and all those Ethan touched during his 17 years of life. As with every homicide in this city, the Akron Police Department will follow every lead and do everything within our power to bring the suspect(s) to justice," Mylett said.
RELATED: Family of Akron teen found beaten to death pleads for someone to come forward
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