The Columbus officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant on Tuesday was a military-trained marksman, according to reports.
Columbus, Ohio Interim Police Chief Michael Woods identified the officer involved in the fatal shooting as Nicholas Reardon during a Wednesday press conference. Mr Reardon has been with the department since 2019, Mr Woods said, and he has since been placed on paid leave pending an investigation.
Social media and news reports revealed that Mr Reardon is a US Air National Guardsman who received an expert marksman badge with an M4 Carbine.
He's a local to Columbus and graduated from Bishop Watterson Catholic School before pursuing basic training.
Other reports indicated the police officer was the son of Sergeant Edward "Ted" Reardon, who served in the Columbus Division of Police for 32 years before retiring. In a previous Columbus Police Department tweet, the sergeant was acknowledged for training more than 700 recruits for the department.
During the Wednesday press conference, the police chief said that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) will conduct an "independent and transparent investigation" into the shooting that took place on Tuesday.
The findings in the investigation would then be shared with the Franklin County prosecutor's office, which will then present the information to a grand jury to determine if the police officer should face legal consequences.
Separately, the Columbus Division of Police would review the officer's conduct to determine if he went against the department's policies.
When asked about why Mr Reardon shot at Ma'Khia Bryant, Mr Woods said that police officers were allowed to use deadly force against someone if their life or the life of another person was at risk.
Mr Woods said police officers were also trained to fire until the deadly threat ceased, and that they should aim for a large target like the middle section of a person instead of a smaller, less fatal, location like a leg.
"We don't train to shoot the leg, because that's a small target," Mr Wood said. "We are trained to shoot centre mass of what is available to stop that threat ... the largest part. When you try to start shooting legs or arms rounds, miss, and then [the bullets] continue on, and there are people behind that that could be in danger, that are not committing any [crimes]."
Police shared segments of body camera footage from the shooting, which appeared to show Ma'Khia lunging at another person with a knife before getting shot at four times by Mr Reardon.
"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.
Police said they would release more body camera footage as it became available. But first the videos would be reviewed and all juveniles in the frames would have their faces blurred to protect their identity.