Bill Liming, the father of fatally beaten Ohio teen Ethan Liming, said his son was trying to defuse an altercation before he was beaten to death, adding that his son’s two friends, who are black, tried to rescue Ethan while he was still breathing, but were chased and assaulted by the perpetrators, who then “finished my son off,” according to News 5 Cleveland.
Ethan, 17, was reportedly beaten to death near basketball courts of NBA star and political activist LeBron James’ I PROMISE School in Akron on June 2. Since the incident, three males — Donovon Jones, 21, Tyler Stafford, 19, and Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20 — have been arrested in connection to the boy’s death.
Bill Liming, a reverend, told News 5 Cleveland last week that the lead detective on the case told him his son was trying to defuse an altercation after some of the boy’s friends were horsing around.
Reports suggest they were shooting Water Bead SplatRBall Blasters.
“Teenagers were being teenagers, and I don’t want to say too much about the investigation,” Bill told News 5 Cleveland. “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, and they went running back to Ethan’s car where he and his other friend were.”
“Ethan still thought it was horseplay when he got out of the car and was trying to tell people, ‘It’s relaxed. It’s just a joke. It’s a joke,'” Bill continued. “And the individuals didn’t like that.”
“One individual attacked him,” the father said. “Ethan still tried to tell them it’s just a joke. And then another individual came up behind them, struck him in the head.”
“He was fighting back for his life,” Bill asserted. “The detective told me that, ‘Your son fought for his life.’ It was not over like it was like a single punch, he fell down and hit his head. That’s not what happened … he was fighting for his life. And then a third individual came up behind him and they overwhelmed them and they knocked him out on the ground.”
The reverend noted that Ethan’s friends tried to help him, despite rumors or reports to the contrary.
“It’s been said that they abandoned Ethan and it’s not true,” Bill said. “They did everything they possibly could to help Ethan. They called 911 to get help. And when Ethan was knocked out on the ground, his two African-American friends tried to pick up his body and put them in the car, to help save his life. He was still alive at that point. He was still breathing.”
“His friends tried to help him and they drove them away eventually — not before calling 911. They called, they tried to get help for him. And when they couldn’t catch the one child that ran across a parking lot, they came back and finished my son off,” he said.
“They, as I said, they called for help for my son, but the help did not arrive in time, and they did the best they could to help him when they were there, and it’s just — my heart’s broken.”
During a recent press conference, Akron Police Department Chief Stephen Mylett said that Ethan was among a group of four minors who arrived in the parking lot near the basketball courts, Insider reported Sunday.
“Shortly after their arrival, they got out of their vehicle, and at least two members of occupants of the vehicle started discharging a — what we know now to be a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster,” Mylett said. “They started discharging it at the direction of four individuals who were playing basketball on the basketball court.”
The males on the basketball court “initially ran away as the two juveniles ran in their direction,” Insider said. “Then, the juveniles ran back to their car and were followed by the group of four,” according to the police chief.
“A confrontation occurs,” Mylett said. “Ethan Liming is assaulted, and a fight ensues. At the conclusion of it, Ethan Liming is dead.”