Ohio teen beaten to death when apparent water gun prank turns deadly, 3 suspects arrested

(Video: WEWS)

Three suspects were arrested Saturday in connection to the beating death of an Ohio teen after a seemingly harmless prank turned fatal.

On June 2, 17-year-old high school senior Ethan Liming was killed in the parking lot of the I PROMISE School in Akron, OH. Working in conjunction with the Akron Police Department (APD), the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force was able to identify and locate the three men believed to be responsible for the death of the teen.

In a press statement released Saturday, U.S. Marshals Public Affairs Officer Josh Lowe wrote, “This morning, members of the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20 yrs, Tyler Stafford, 19 yrs, and Donovon Jones, 21 yrs. The three are wanted by the Akron Police Department for the fatal beating of Ethan Liming, 17 yrs, outside the I Promise School in Akron on June 2, 2022.”

From bottom to left — Tyler Stafford, Donovan Jones, and Deshawn Stafford Jr. were arrested in connection to the murder.

U.S. Marshals Service

Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett noted in the statement, “I am happy to report that today, officers with the AkPD, 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.”

The initial reporting of the death did not provide an explanation as for what sparked the altercation between Liming’s group of friends and the suspects. However, in an update from the APD, Mylett explained that the teens had evidently stirred the men to anger by firing on them with a SPLATRBALL Water Bead Blaster.

(Video: WKYC)

“It shoot these water beads at people or objects, whatever the target is,” Mylett detailed. “When it impacts the target it, like a water balloon, it explodes and then the person is doused with water.” He went on to note that it was the belief of the APD that the water gun he presented to the media was the one used by the teens with the only difference being the color of the toy.

“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,” the police chief went on in the statement. “Violence in this country must stop. We are losing too many lives to senseless acts of violence.”

Ethan’s stepmom, Cyndi Liming, who had implored the public for help in locating the men responsible for her stepson’s death, tweeted on behalf of the Liming family, “We are so thankful for the help we have received from the Akron community and the police department. We have seen some horrific days, however, the love and the goodness people have shared is so much brighter.”

Bill Liming, Ethan’s father, told WEWS, “We miss our child. We would do anything we could possibly do to turn the clock back and have him in my arms again. And to see his face again, but they robbed me of even that ability. And they destroyed my child’s face and his head…I don’t think anybody’s child would ever deserve what happened to him. Nobody’s child would deserve what they did to my child.”

Prior to the arrest of the suspect’s, APD had offered a $30,000 reward for information that would help the investigation.


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