3 arrested for beating death of Akron teenager outside I Promise School, US Marshals say

Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 11:40 AM EDT

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The U.S. Marshals Service on Saturday announced three men have been arrested for the murder of Ethan Liming, who was beaten to death June 2 outside LeBron James’ I Promise School.

The 17-year-old was found dead around 10:30 p.m. in the school parking lot on West Market Street after his friends called 911, according to Akron police.

Ethan Liming
Ethan Liming(Source: Akron Public Schools)

Summit County CrimeStoppers issued a $30,000 reward earlier this week, and Akron police said tips from the public led to the suspects being identified and homicide warrants issued.

U.S. Marshals said the arrested suspects are 21-year-old Donovon Jones, 19-year-old Tyler Stafford and 20-year-old Deshawn Stafford Jr.

Authorities said they arrested three men in the death of a student in Ohio. Clockwise from...
Authorities said they arrested three men in the death of a student in Ohio. Clockwise from bottom-left: Tyler Stafford, Donovan Jones, Deshawn Stafford Jr.(U.S. Marshals Service)

On Saturday, authorities tracked Tyler and Deshawn Stafford to a home in the 500 block of North Howard Street, where they were arrested, the U.S. Marshals said.

Donovon Jones was arrested at a home in the 200 block of Crosby Street, according to the U.S. Marshals.

Akron police initially said Liming was “knocked unconscious and brutally assaulted” by the suspects during a fight.

Police Chief Stephen Mylett confirmed new details Wednesday and said there is no evidence the murder was a hate crime.

Mylett said the altercation began after Liming and three others arrived to the parking lot and started firing a SplatRBall gun at people on the basketball court. It is not clear if Liming fired the SplatRBall gun.

Officials with the U.S. Marshals and city of Akron shared the following statements when announcing the arrests:

“Ethan’s senseless and tragic death has touched every person in our community. These arrests would not have been possible without the dedication of our Akron Police Department and their collaboration with the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. They have worked around the clock on this case and I thank them for their tireless efforts. My thoughts and prayers remain with the entire Liming family at this time.” — Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan

“I am happy to report that today, officers with the Akron Police Department, 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. We will continue to follow any leads that will result in bringing those responsible for Ethan’s death to justice. 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. Violence in this country must stop. We are losing too many lives to senseless acts of violence.” — Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett

“The U.S. Marshals Service will continue to provide all necessary resources to help our partners at the Akron Police Department to combat violent crime. This crime impacted an entire community and we stand alongside the community in seeking justice for Ethan.” — U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott

LeBron James’ I Promise School is apart of the Akron Public School District, serving students in third through seventh grades.

Liming was a rising senior at Firestone Community Learning Center in the Academy of Design, according to Akron Public Schools.

Anyone with information about Liming’s murder is asked to call Akron police at 330-375-2490 or 330-375-2Tip.

You can also call Summit County CrimeStoppers at 330-434-COPS.

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