Members of the Columbus, Ohio, community gathered Thursday evening to remember Tyre King, the 13-year-old killed by police who identified him as a robbery suspect. The gathering helped to project King as much more than a suspect who allegedly brandished a BB gun before officers fatally shot him Wednesday night.
Local activists fired up more than 150 people who attended a vigil held in the neighborhood where King was shot, the Columbus Dispatch reported. "We have nothing to lose but our chains!" they chanted.
A daily pledge recited by some of King's football league teammates stood out for some vigil attendees, who'd come there to process yet another police-involved shooting of a black person. Part of the pledge was captured in a video tweeted Thursday evening by the People's Justice Project, an Ohio-based grassroots organizing group.
"No matter how good I am, I know I can become better," young members of the Columbus Day Stars recite, in a call and response fashion. "Today I pledge to build on the works of yesterday, which will lead me to the rewards of tomorrow."
The pledge continues:
Today I pledge to reach new goals, new challenges, new horizons. Today I pledge to listen to the beat of my own drum, which will lead me only in search of my dreams.
The pledge ends with another affirmation: "Today, I pledge to believe in me."
As athletes in schools and in professional leagues around the U.S. have increasingly taken a stand against inequality — many are taking a knee as "The Star-Spangled Banner" is sung at games and matches, to protest police violence and racial inequality — the Columbus football team's pledge is a different way to express pride in one's freedoms.
The vigil was also attended by members of King's family. His sister, 13-year-old Marshay Caldwell, was the only family member to speak during the vigil, according to the Dispatch.
"He didn't deserve to die," she said.
King was shot by Officer Bryan Mason sometime after 7:42 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, as officers pursued multiple suspects in connection to a robbery. Mason had been attempting to detain the teen, who allegedly pulled a weapon from his waistband as officers approached him. A BB gun was later recovered from the scene of the shooting.
King was hit multiple times, according to local authorities, and died in a nearby hospital at 8:22 p.m. Eastern.
Micheal Bell, founder of the football team, told the Dispatch that King was a hard-working, first-year player with an infectious smile. "It's so disturbing that one bad decision ended his life," he said.