Ma'Khia Bryant's mother: 'Now I know what it is like to lose a child'

‘I want to remember the good things about Ma’Khia’: Mother of 16-year-old girl shot dead by Columbus cop breaks down and says she now knows what Breonna Taylor’s family went through

  • Paula Bryant’s daughter Ma’Khia, 16, was shot and killed by police on Tuesday
  • Nicholas Reardon, with Columbus police department, is under investigation
  • Bryant said that she wanted ‘the killing to stop’
  • She described her daughter as a stellar student who was peaceful and loving 

The mother of a 16-year-old girl who was shot and killed by police in Ohio during an apparent knife fight has compared herself to Breonna Taylor’s mother, saying: ‘Now I know what it is like to lose a child.’

Paula Bryant’s daughter Ma’Khia died on Tuesday in Columbus, after police were called to a chaotic scene at a house. The teenager, who had been in foster care, charged at two people with a knife before she was shot and killed by a police officer. 

Bryant, asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo what his daughter would want, replied: ‘The killing must stop’.

It’s not clear why her daughter had been in foster care, and it wasn’t addressed in the interview. 

She described her daughter as ‘peaceful and loving’. 

‘I’ve always had sympathy for the Breonna Taylor story, and the family and her friends and her situation – and now I know what it feels like to lose a child,’ she said. 

Paula Bryant on Thursday night spoke to CNN in a face mask bearing her daughter’s name

Paula Bryant, whose daughter Ma’Khia was killed on Tuesday, pleaded for an end to bloodshed

Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by Louisville police in March 2020

Ma’Khia Bryant (left) with her mother Paula, in a Facebook photo posted by Paula

Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was fatally shot in her own home in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13, 2020, when police stormed in during the night. 

Bryant added: ‘I’m a single mother of five kids and, you know, now Ma’Khia is gone and I only have four kids.’

Fighting back tears, she added: ‘That is so hard for me to say.’ 

Bryant’s daughter was in foster care, but she hoped to be reunited with her soon. The last time she saw her was on Thursday, when the teenager told her mother she had made honor roll at school.

She said: ‘I was at the dentist’s office in Columbus, Ohio. I said hello, and I got the disturbing news that Ma’Khia was shot.

‘I said – what? The dentist’s assistant helped me off the chair.

‘My heart was beating fast, and I didn’t know what to think.

‘No parent should have to go through this. This is so unreal. I’m devastated.’ 

She added: ‘She was peaceful, she was loving, she wanted everybody to get along.

‘She was a Christian.’ 

She said she wanted to remember the good things about her daughter. 

Bryant told Cuomo that she had watched the video of her daughter’s killing, and called for an end to the loss of life. 

Columbus police released bodycam footage showing Ma’Khia with a knife (circled)

A woman writes Ma’Khia’s name in chalk in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday

‘The killing needs to stop. There’s been too many killings in the world. I want the killing to stop,’ she said. 

‘Ma’Khia is gone. And I want the killing in the world to stop, and that’s what Ma’Khia would want.’

She said: ‘Ma’Khia is in God’s hands. I have faith in God.’

Her daughter was named after a male prophet in the Bible. 

Officials with the Columbus Division of Police had released initial footage of the shooting Tuesday night just hours after it happened, which was a departure from protocol as the force faces immense scrutiny from the public following a series of recent high-profile police killings that have led to clashes.  

‘The fact that I see what I saw on that video is not how I know my Ma’Khia,’ said her grandmother, Debra Wilcox. 

She told The Associated Press on Wednesday: ‘I don’t know what happened there unless she was fearful for her life.’

Paula Bryant has said she wants answers in her daughter’s killing

The incident has caused an outcry in the community and nationwide as Bryant’s killing is the second high-profile fatal shooting of a teenager by police in the last month. Body camera footage released last week showed an officer shoot and kill 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago.

‘It’s a tragedy. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a 16-year-old. I’m a father,’ said Michael Woods, interim Columbus Police Chief. 

‘Her family is grieving. Regardless of the circumstances associated with this, a 16-year-old lost her life yesterday.’

He added: ‘I sure as hell wish it wouldn’t have happened.’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the Columbus shooting ‘tragic’ and said President Joe Biden has been briefed on it.

‘She was a child. We’re thinking of her friends and family and the communities that are hurting and grieving her loss,’ Psaki said in a statement.

Protesters in Columbus took to the streets on Wednesday to demand justice for Ma’Khia

The 10-second body camera clip begins with the officer, identified Wednesday as Nicholas Reardon, getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone had called 911 saying they were being physically threatened, Woods said. 

It remains unclear who called the police.

A spokesperson for the Air National Guard in Ohio confirmed to that Reardon is a Staff Sergeant assigned to the 121st Security Forces Squadron and has served with the National Guard since 2015.

His alma mater’s Twitter account said he earned the expert marksman badge for the M4A1 Carbine fully automatic assault rifle used by the military.

Reardon, who was hired by the force in December 2019, is seen taking a few steps toward a group of people in the driveway when Bryant starts swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. 

The officer shouts several times to get down.

Bryant then charges at another girl or woman, who is pinned against a car.

From a few feet away, with people on either side of him, the officer fires four shots, and Bryant slumps to the ground. A black-handled blade similar to a kitchen knife or steak knife lies on the sidewalk next to her.

Officer Nicholas Reardon is seen standing on the scene after shooting and killing Bryant. He has been on the force since December 2019 

Authorities said they had been responding to an initial stabbing call at around 4.30pm. The shots fire call was made just 15 minutes later

A man immediately yells at the officer: ‘You didn’t have to shoot her! She’s just a kid, man!’

The officer responds: ‘She had a knife. She just went at her.’

The officer has been taken off patrolling the streets for the time being.

Bryant was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said. Police did not say if anyone else was injured.

In the moments after the shooting, people living or visiting the street filmed as police roped off the area with yellow tape in front of the house where the shooting took place.

A neighbor’s video shows an officer performing CPR on the teenager while a man can be heard yelling: ‘You all just jumped out of the (expletive) car and shot her!’

Ma’Khia Bryant’s death has sparked an investigation by Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation

People listen as friends of Ma’Khia Bryant speak about her at a community vigil, on Wednesday, at Douglas Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio

Neighbors stood in open doorways filming and behind cars shaking their heads, eyewitness footage showed.

Woods said state law allows police to use deadly force to protect themselves or others, and investigators will determine whether this shooting was such an instance.

Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is now reviewing the killing following a recent agreement with the city.

The shooting happened about 25 minutes before a judge read the verdict convicting former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. 

It also took place less than five miles from where the funeral for Andre Hill, who was killed by another Columbus police officer in December, was held earlier this year. 

The officer in Hill’s case, Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, is now facing trial for murder, with the next hearing scheduled for April 28.

Less than three weeks before Hill was killed, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. in Columbus. The case remains under federal investigation.

Last week, Columbus police shot and killed a man who was in a hospital emergency room with a gun on him. Officials are continuing an investigation into that shooting.

Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio, said on Wednesday that he watched the footage of Bryant’s killing and called it a ‘horrible tragedy.’

He added that while the public has the video evidence, ‘we need to let the investigation play out.’ 

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