Nicholas Reardon, the Columbus police officer who fatally shot Ma'Khia Bryant as she attempted to stab another girl, is a US Air National Guardsman who received an expert marksman badge with an M4 Carbine. Reardon's action was defended by Columbus PD's interim police chief Michael Woods, who said that the officer was trained to shoot center mass.
The knife wielding 16-year-old black teen was killed after Reardon fired four shots as she tried to stab another girl. Reardon, who has been on the force for less than two years, has been placed on leave following the incident.
Reardon Joined Columbus Police Department Two Years Ago
The Daily Beast reported that Reardon, a graduate of Bishop Watterson Catholic school in Columbus, appears to be the son of the son of retired Sergeant Edward "Ted" Reardon, a former member of the Columbus Division of Police.
The body cam footage showed a knife yielding Bryant storming out of the home towards another woman. She then swings and pushes at the other woman, who falls to the ground.
Bryant then turns her attention towards another girl who is on the hood of a car and swings the knife at her as the officer opens fire, sending her to the ground.
Reardon can be heard saying, "She had a knife. She just ran at her," as a man in the background exclaims, "She's a f***ing kid, man." The cop, who has been part of the Columbus Police Department since December 2019, was working a one-officer car and was assigned to zone 2, second shift.
Reardon Hailed as Hero on Social Media
According to the Independent, Chief Woods defended Reardon's action. "One of the difficult things with that is we don't train to shoot the leg because that's a small target. We train to shoot center mass to what is available to stop that threat. When you try and start shooting legs or arms, rounds miss and they continue on and there are people behind that who could be in danger that are not committing anything, so we try to minimize danger to anyone else if we have to use our firearm," said Woods.
Even as the heat surrounding Reardon's role in the fatal shooting gained momentum, many came out in his defense on social media.
"Officer Nicholas Reardon is a hero for saving a girl's life. Contrary to the fake narrative that BLM & their media sycophants would have you believe," tweeted a user.
"Officer Nicholas Reardon is a hero and I think it's disgusting that the news is ignoring the truth and trying to make a hero out of a knife-wielding psychopath," wrote another.