Water Gun Started Incident That Ended in Teen's Violent Death, 3 Arrested for Fatal Beating

Three men have been arrested in connection with the death of a 17-year-old boy who was killed in the parking lot of LeBron James’ I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, on June 2.

Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20, Tyler Stafford, 19, and Donovon Jones, 21, were arrested on Saturday by the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force and Akron police, according to Fox News. The victim was identified as teenager Ethan Liming.

“I am happy to report that today, officers with the Akron Police Department, made several arrests in connection with the death of Ethan Liming,” Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said. “We thank the members of the community for their outpouring of support that helped investigators throughout this investigation.”

Officials said the incident at the school — which opened with funding in part from the NBA star in 2018 — grew out of what appeared to be a stunt by Liming and some friends.

“In the moments leading up to the incident, one or more occupants in [Liming’s] vehicle were riding around the surrounding area shooting a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster at objects and possibly unsuspecting people,” a police statement said, according to Fox.

The group then went to the basketball courts where several teens “targeted or approached the subjects who were on the court and fired the gel soft gun at them,” police said.

Mylett said that at least two people in the vehicle with Liming fired the gel gun at several people on the court, who dispersed but later converged on the vehicle in which Liming was riding.

It was unclear if Liming fired the gun, police said, according to WOIO-TV.

According to WOIO, Akron police found Liming unconscious on the ground.

Police said they found the teenager “knocked unconscious and brutally assaulted,” WOIO reported.

Despite officers’ efforts, Liming was pronounced dead at the scene.

Liming’s family issued a statement after the boy’s death.

“Our whole family is beyond thankful for the help the community has given us. Throughout this whole process we’ve seen horrific things, but the good we’ve seen is just so much brighter. We love our son, and we miss him dearly,” the statement said, according to WOIO.

Liming was the fourth Akron Public Schools student to die since May 23, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.


An 8-year-old and her 10-year-old were killed in a house fire on May 23, and a 15-year-old student was shot and killed on May 24, according to the newspaper.

The school district said Liming attended Firestone Community Learning Center, where he was a rising senior and a leader in the Academy of Design, according to the Beacon Journal.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.