Heartbreaking 911 call released after Ohio teen’s death outside LeBron James’ I Promise School

Jonathan Sherman
5 Min Read

A tragic incident earlier this month took place outside the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. The school, of course, was founded by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

On June 2, 17-year-old Ethan Liming was found unresponsive after allegedly getting into an altercation with Deshawn Stafford, 20, Tyler Stafford, 19, and Donovan Jones, 21.

“We’re at the I Promise school in Akron, Ohio,” said an unidentified friend of Liming to a 911 dispatcher on the night of the fight. “Our friend just got knocked out. We don’t know what to do.”

The altercation took place after a group that Liming was with started firing a water gun at a group of men on the school’s basketball court.

During the 911 call, the 911 dispatcher asked if a fight was taking place. The caller responded by saying that the fight had ended.

The dispatcher later asked if Liming was breathing.

“Yeah, he’s breathing,” the caller answered. “He’s breathing.”

Prior to the fight, Liming and a group of friends were allegedly joyriding in a vehicle and provoked the fight with the three young men who have been arrested in relation to the incident. After Liming’s group reportedly shot at the three men with the water gun, the deadly confrontation occurred.

“A fight ensues and subsequently, Ethan Liming is dead,” the chief of police said at a press conference.

Liming’s father Bill spoke about the death of his son.

“He was fighting back for his life,” the elder Liming said. “A third individual came up behind him and overwhelmed him. And they knocked him out on the ground. His friends tried to help him.”

The elder Liming suggested that racial animosity is prevalent in today’s culture and played a role in his son’s death.

“My son Ethan Liming was murdered by three African American males and a female who stood by and did nothing,” he said.

“We live in a sick world. People look at each other based on the color of skin or the fact somebody disagrees with somebody else. And because you disagree with me you must be evil. And we have so dehumanized each other in our society, that’s why my son was murdered. Some people looked at him as somebody whose life didn’t matter. And it just breaks our hearts. And we don’t want this to happen to anybody else’s child.”

The mother of the deceased, Jennifer, spoke with the Akron Beacon Journal.

“I just hope when people are feeling angry at somebody for something they did to them, they just take a breath and think for a second,” she said. “Think about my son.”

Though Bill Liming believes racial animosity was at the heart of the issue, police have stated that the attack was not racially motivated.

“There were assumptions made that this was a race-related incident,” the police chief said. “There is nothing that we have in our possession right now, any information at all, indicating that race played a role in this homicide.

“If we do receive information that race played a role in this, as in any homicide, we will consult with our prosecuting attorneys and add additional charges.”

Ethan Liming, who was laid to rest on June 17, was not a student at James’ I Promise School. He would have been a senior next year at Firestone High School.

“He was a loyal friend, always helping those in need,” his obituary read. “Ethan was kind, compassionate, an honor student and athlete with a radiant smile.”

Following the death, the LeBron James Family Foundation issued a sobering message of condolences.

It’s a very tragic story in many ways.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.