A 911 call made from the basketball court of an Ohio high school founded by LeBron James raises more questions than it answers about an incident that left a high school junior dead.
Ethan Liming, 17, was beaten to death in the parking lot of the I Promise School in Akron on June 2. Three men have been arrested in connection with the homicide, which officials said erupted after Liming was shooting a water gun at people on the court.
“We’re at the I Promise school in Akron, Ohio,” one of Liming’s friends told a 911 operator during a 10:42 p.m. call on the night of the fight, according to Fox News.
“Our friend just got knocked out. We don’t know what to do.”
As the operator asked if the fight was still going on, a voice in the background was heard saying, “Hey, man. We’re sorry, man. We didn’t mean it,” according to the report.
The caller said “there was” a fight before reportedly telling the dispatcher, “It’s OK, though. It’s cool now. It’s cool now.”
When asked if Liming is breathing, the caller said, “Yeah, he’s breathing. He’s breathing.”
A commotion could then be heard in the background in addition to a voice that said, “I’m not trying to fight, though,” before the call abruptly ended, leaving it unclear if the fight was over or escalating, according to the outlet.
Cops arrived at the court three minutes later and found Liming unresponsive, the report said.
Donovon Jones, 21, DeShawn Stafford Jr., 20, and Tyler Stafford, 19, all pleaded not guilty and were reportedly being held on $1 million bond.
Liming and three friends were in the parking lot of the basketball court — which is open all night — when they began playing with a “SplatRBall” gun that shoots water beads that explode when they hit a target, the article said.
A four-on-four fight broke out after the teens shot the gun at the men that were on the court playing basketball, according to police.
The suspects fled the scene after they “took Liming’s car and drove it to the other end of the lot” following the deadly attack, court documents reportedly said.
Jonathan Sinn, a lawyer for DeShawn Stafford, said his client was defending himself after seeing “a car-load of teenagers … with, what at the time seemed to be a fully automatic firearm,” a reference to the $68 water gun, according to the article.
The toy’s website warns users not to “take SplatRBall Blasters to any school or federal properties” or “aim at or blast people or animals.”