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FIRST ON FOX – A 911 call made to police in Akron, Ohio, on June 2 prompts more questions about the fatal beating of 17-year-old Ethan Liming.
Liming was beaten to death on his last day as a junior in high school after what authorities describe as a fight between the two friend groups that began when Liming’s friends discharged a toy water bead gun at a group of men on a school basketball court.
“We’re at the I Promise school in Akron, Ohio,” a 911 call from one of Liming’s friends placed at 10:42 p.m. on the night of the fight says. “Our friend just got knocked out. We don’t know what to do.”
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The operator asks if there is a fight going on at the caller’s location.
A voice in the background of the call can be heard saying, “Hey, man. We’re sorry, man. We didn’t mean it.”
The caller then responds to the operator’s question, saying “there was” a fight going on before adding, “Yeah. It’s okay, though. It’s cool now. It’s cool now.”
The operator asks whether Liming is breathing, to which the caller responds, “Yeah, he’s breathing. He’s breathing.”
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At that point, a voice in the background of the call can be heard saying, “I’m not trying to fight, though,” along with some other indiscernible voices and noises before the call abruptly ends, leaving the operator hanging.
It is unclear if the fight had ended or escalated at that point.
Akron officials arrested three suspects connected to Liming’s killing on June 11, including 20-year old Deshawn Stafford Jr., 19-year-old Tyler Stafford, and 21-year-old Donovon Jones. They are being held on $1 million bond. Each pleaded not guilty during Monday’s arraignment.
Police said during a June 8 press conference that they had received a phone call just before 10:50 p.m. on June 2 regarding a fight in a parking lot next to an elementary school basketball court.
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The court — which is apparently lit at all hours of the night, according to Liming’s father, Bill Liming — is part of a public elementary school in Akron supported by the LeBron James Family Foundation called the “I Promise School.”
Officers arrived within three minutes of the first 911 call and found Ethan lying on the ground in the parking lot. Authorities attempted life-saving measures but were unable to revive the teenager, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett told reporters.
Ethan and three of his friends had driven into the parking lot of the basketball court that night so that they could text their friends to make plans for the remainder of the evening, the elder Liming previously told Fox News Digital.
Two of his friends got out of the vehicle and started shooting a toy “SplatRBall” gun, which is described as a rechargeable, full-auto and semi-auto water bead gun. The water beads explode when they hit a target. The toy gun is listed as $68 on Walmart’s website.
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Ethan’s father said his son has hit him with the toy gun before, and the gel bullets feel like a “rubber band snap.”
The two boys playing with the water bead gun then began shooting toward a group of four individuals playing on the basketball court. Eventually, an altercation ensued between the four individuals on the basketball court and the four boys in the parking lot, including Ethan.
Three occupants of the vehicle, including Ethan, were assaulted, according to the elder Liming.
Police documents previously obtained by Fox News Digital described how suspects Deshawn Stafford and Tyler Stafford “took Liming’s car and drove it to the other end of the lot” when Ethan’s friends tried to take him to the hospital, but one of the men’s attorneys cast doubt upon the pair’s intentions when moving the vehicle.
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Jonathan Sinn, who represents DeShawn “Shawn” Stafford, said that while the suspects did take away the water bead gun and the car after the alleged fight, they were not moving the car to prevent Liming from getting to the hospital. Instead, they did so to keep Ethan and his friends on the scene until police arrived, Sinn said — despite that his client and the other suspects also allegedly fled the scene afterward.
Police arrived at the parking lot near the basketball court that night to find “nobody was on scene,” Mylett told reporters.
Earlier this week, Sinn told the court Shawn Stafford was trying to defend himself after Shawn, his brother and his cousin saw “a car-load of teenagers … with, what at the time seemed to be a fully automatic firearm,” referencing the SplatRBall gun.
Ethan was an honors student at a public school in Akron, where he achieved a 4.03 GPA and played baseball and football, his father told Fox News Digital. He aspired to become a lawyer.
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Bill Liming said in a statement on Tuesday that his family “is confident that when the facts of the case are presented in court, Ethan will get justice.”
“People are going to say what they are going to say,” he added.