In December, Julius Tate, Jr. was killed by police. Now girlfriend Masonique Saunders is charged with his murder.

n the early evening on Friday, Dec. 7, Jamita Malone received a phone call informing her that her son, Julius Tate, Jr., 16, had been shot by police and transported to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center.

“I went out [to the hospital] and the news media was there and I couldn’t find my boy,” said Malone, who was informed of events after they unfolded by Danielle Williams, the mother of Tate’s girlfriend, Masonique Saunders. “No one [from the hospital] came out and told me that my son was lying on a table, gone. ... My son’s birthday would be next month. He’d be 17 years old. But he’s sitting on my mantelpiece downstairs and I can’t even touch him. I can’t say, ‘I love you.’ I can’t even hug him. My son can’t even tell me what the hell they’ve done to him.”

Columbus Division of Police shot and killed Tate during an undercover investigation into a series of robberies tied to in-person sales arranged via social media websites. According to CPD, as reported by the Dispatch, a SWAT officer, who posed as a potential buyer, agreed to meet Tate to purchase an item with cash near the Near East Side intersection of Mount Vernon and North Champion avenues, about 40 paces from where Williams lives with her three children, including Saunders. During this exchange, CPD said Tate pulled a gun and robbed the officer, at which point another SWAT officer, Eric Richards, shot and killed Tate. An autopsy released in early April revealed that Richards shot Tate five times, striking him three times in the abdomen and once each in the chest and head. Tate was pronounced dead at Grant Medical Center at 6:32 p.m.

Continue reading Andy Downing's story on Columbus Alive.