Police bodycam footage shows officer shooting 15-year-old boy who had toy gun

By John Mercury April 10, 2024

Newly released police bodycam footage shows the moment an officer shot a teenage boy who was holding a fake gun.

Officer Ryan Westlake was called to reports of a person pointing a firearm at houses in Akron, Ohio, shortly after 7pm on 1 April.

He found the person, later identified as 15-year-old Tavion Koonce-Williams, and before fully exiting his patrol car, Westlake fired a single bullet that struck the teenager.

Amid calls for the officer to be held accountable for the incident, bodycam footage has now been released.

The video shows Westlake pulling up near Tavion and asking the teenager: “Can I see your hands real quick?”

Within seconds, he points his own gun at Tavion and can be heard exclaiming “Oh shit!” as he fires it.

“Shots fired,” he says as Tavion repeatedly screams about “it’s fake” his own alleged weapon.

As he does this, Westlake continues to approach, with his gun pointing at the teen as he raises his hands and gets down on the floor.

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Blood is visible on Tavion’s right wrist as he puts his hands behind his back and handcuffs him.

“My hand hurts. Mister, I wanted to be safe,” he says. Another officer then steps in to apply a tourniquet.

He was taken to hospital with a non-life-threatening injury, police initially said.

Westlake was placed on paid administrative leave under department procedures.

In a statement Tuesday, Westlake’s union, the Fraternal Order of Police, Akron Lodge 7, said: “The officer involved acted within policy and procedure and according to his training.

“Immediately after being faced with a split-second decision to use deadly force, he and other officers began rendering medical treatment to the suspect.”

Westlake could not immediately be reached for comment, according to Sky News’ US partner NBC News.

A lawyer for Tavion’s family explained that he had a toy gun and said “at no point was that toy gun pointed at anyone’s home, at any individual, and certainly not any member of the Akron Police Department,” NBC News reported.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an independent investigation into the incident and when that is finished, the Akron police department will begin a separate one.

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