A 17-year-old Ohio boy was found beaten to death outside a LeBron James-founded high school after he apparently drove around with his friends and shot a water gun at people, according to reports.
Ethan Liming was found Thursday in the parking lot near the basketball courts of the I Promise School in Akron, Fox 8 reported.
He reportedly died as a result of blunt force head trauma.
The teen’s family is asking for anyone with information about the crime to step forward.
“Ethan was everything, he was a good boy, he was a smart boy. He loved life. He loved living life. He wanted to be friends with everybody,” his devastated mother, Jennifer Liming, said Tuesday, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. “Ethan didn’t see color, he saw hearts. He was just such a good person.
Bill, a pastor at the Montrose Zion United Methodist Church, said his son and three friends went to the I Promise School on the fateful night to figure out what they wanted to do.
The four pals ran into another group, including three young males and a young female, before an altercation the father described as “horseplay” escalated.
“Teenagers were being teenagers,” Bill said, according to the Beacon Journal. “I don’t want to say too much about the investigation. But apparently some of his friends who were with him were fooling around in the parking lot and some other people didn’t like it.”
The father said Ethan got out of the car and “told people to relax — ‘It’s a joke, it’s a joke,’ and the individuals didn’t like that. One individual attacked him.”
Another person then came up from behind and hit Ethan in the head, Bill said.
“He was fighting back for his life. A third individual came up behind him and overwhelmed him. And they knocked him out on the ground. His friends tried to help him,” he said.
“My son Ethan Liming was murdered by three African American males and a female who stood by and did nothing,” Bill added.
On Wednesday, Police Chief Stephen Mylett and Mayor Dan Horrigan held a news conference to clear up rumors about the deadly incident, Fox 8 reported.
“There were assumptions made that this was a race-related incident,” Mylett said. “There is nothing that we have in our possession right now, any information at all indicating race played a role in this homicide. Nothing.
“I want to reassure the community that if we do receive information that race played a role in this, as in any homicide, we will consult with our prosecuting attorneys and add additional charges,” the chief said.
Officials said investigators believe Ethan, who was white, and his friends, one of whom is white and the other two black, used a SplatRBall Water Bead Blaster on some people before the teen was fatally assaulted.
“It was a senseless act of violence in our city yet again,” Mylett told reporters. “We have a lot of work to do in this city as the country does at large.”
The victim’s father said: “We live in a sick world. People look at each other based on the color of skin or the fact somebody disagrees with somebody else.
“And because you disagree with me, you must be evil. And we have so dehumanized each other in our society — that’s why my son was murdered,” Bill continued, the Beacon Journal reported.
“Some people looked at him as somebody whose life didn’t matter. And it just breaks our hearts. And we don’t want this to happen to anybody else’s child,” he added.
No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
CrimeStoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for tips in the case.