The Columbus Police Department received a phone call around 4.35pm local time about an attempted stabbing. The caller reported that a female was attempting to stab them and then hung up the phone, according to police.
Hazel Bryant claimed it was her niece Ma'Khia who called 911 after a group of "older kids" threatened her with assault, when speaking to Ohio Statehouse News Bureau. Police did not say on Tuesday who made the 911 phone call.
In a news conference on Tuesday evening, the Columbus Police Department said that the girl had threatened two others with a knife before she was shot. Police also shared segments of body camera footage worn by the officers on the scene.
In the video, the victim is seen lunging towards someone in a driveway before an officer fired four shots.
"She had a knife. She just ran at her," one officer says on the footage.
A knife is then visible on the driveway while the police officers perform CPR on the victim.
Ma'Khia was then transported to a local hospital in critical condition, where she later died.
"We know, based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community," Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, a Democrat, said at the news conference. "But a family is grieving tonight, and this young 15-year-old girl will never be coming home."
Police did not name the victim, but family members identified the teenage girl as Ma'Khia, adding that the child had been in foster care.
Franklin County Children's Services also identified the victim as Ma'Khia, but said that she was 16 years old, which contradicted the statement from the mayor.
Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation will now handle the investigation into the shooting.
Columbus officials vowed to release more information "as soon as it becomes available" during the investigation. The entirety of the body camera footage was not released on Tuesday because officials said they needed to first blur the faces of juveniles to protect their identity.
Columbus Interim Police Chief Michael Woods said police officers were allowed to use deadly force against citizens if their life or the life of a third party was at risk.
"Whether this applies with that will be part of an investigation," he said at the news conference.
The police officer who shot Ma'Khia was not identified in the news conference, but Mr Woods said he would be taken off patrol amid the investigation.
This shooting has struck a nerve with the public given that it took place as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on 25 May, 2020.
Protesters gathered in downtown Columbus on Tuesday night to protest the police shooting of the teenage girl.