Officers had been attempting to take the teenager, identified by authorities as Tyre King, into custody with another male when the incident happened last night.
Police said that the boy "pulled a gun from his waistband" before he was shot "multiple times" by the officer, NBC News reports. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
Investigators reportedly recovered a BB gun with an attached laser sight from the scene in Columbus, Ohio, following the fatal shooting.
"We consider it a tragedy when something like this happens," Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said at a news conference. "This is the last thing any police officer wants."
Jacobs identified the officer who shot King as Bryan Mason, a nine-year veteran. Mason was placed on temporary administrative duty, pending an internal investigation. Police identified the victim as Tyree King.
The family said in a statement released by a Columbus law firm that it retained to investigate the shooting that "numerous witness accounts are in direct conflict with the officer's version of events."
The family also said reports of King's actions before the shooting were allegations only at this point and called for an independent investigation.
Police are said to have been called to reports of a group of people, including one armed with a gun, demanding money.
The Columbus Division of Police said in a statement that when they arrived at the scene they saw three people matching the suspects' descriptions nearby.
When they attempted to speak with them, two of the males ran away, it's reported.
"Officers followed the males to the alley ... and attempted to take them into custody when one suspect pulled a gun from his waistband," the statement added.
"One officer shot and struck the suspect multiple times."
Police confirmed that no one else was injured and the other male suspect was interviewed and later released, pending further inquiries.