Three men have been arrested in connection to the killing of a teenager outside LeBron James-founded Ohio high school in early June, federal authorities announced Saturday.
Ethan Liming, 17, was found beaten to death on June 2 in the parking lot of I Promise School in Akron.
In a press release, the US Marshals Service revealed that the federal entity’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force and Akron Police on Saturday morning arrested Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20, Tyler Stafford, 19 and Donovon Jones, 21, at two different residential buildings in Akron.
Liming was brutally beaten to death at around 10:46 p.m. on June 2. Authorities have said the teen died from blunt force trauma to the head after he drove around with his friends and shot a water gun at people.
Liming was lying on the ground in the parking lot when police arrived, officials have said. They were unable to save him, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I am happy to report that today, officers with the Akron Police Department, made several arrests in connection with the death of Ethan Liming. We thank the members of the community for their outpouring of support that helped investigators throughout this investigation,” said Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett in the news release.
“While I believe the news of the arrests will be welcomed by Ethan’s family and loved ones, we all recognize that nothing will bring Ethan back,” he added. “Violence in this country must stop. We are losing too many lives to senseless acts of violence.”
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said that Liming’s “senseless and tragic death has touched every person in our community.”
“My thoughts and prayers remain with the entire Liming family at this time,” he said.
“This crime impacted an entire community and we stand alongside the community in seeking justice for Ethan,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said in a statement.
Police said “that in the moments leading up to the incident, one or more occupants in the [Liming]’s vehicle were riding around the surrounding area shooting a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster at objects and possibly unsuspecting people,” according to a statement cited by Fox News.
They then drove to the basketball courts, where the group of teens “targeted or approached the subjects who were on the court and fired the gel soft gun at them,” in an incident that apparently provoked the killers.
On Thursday, police offered a reward of up to $30,000 for information leading to the arrest of Liming’s killers, according to a local report.
Liming’s father, Bill, told Fox News in a story published Friday that his son was a loving and charitable person with a “bright future” ahead. Liming’s father said that his son planned on becoming a lawyer.