US boy with fake gun dies after being shot by police

2014-11-24 06:40

A 12-year-old boy shot by police after apparently grabbing what turned out to be a replica gun has died from his wounds.

The boy died yesterday, a day after officers responded to an emergency call about a someone waving a “probably fake” gun at a playground in Cleveland, Ohio.

One officer fired twice after the boy pulled the fake weapon – which was lacking the orange safety indicator usually found on the muzzle – from his waistband but had not pointed it at police, Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said.

The boy did not make any verbal threats but grabbed the replica handgun after being told to raise his hands, Tomba said.

“That’s when the officer fired,” he said.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner identified the boy as Tamir Rice. An attorney for his family, Timothy Kucharski, said the boy went to the park with friends Saturday afternoon, but he did not know the details of what led to the shooting.

“I don’t want to make a rush to judgment,” he said.

The police department is investigating the shooting and both officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The county prosecutor’s office also is investigating.

Kucharski said he wants to talk to witnesses himself and get more facts.

“We’re ultimately going to find out what happened,” Kucharski said.

Police said the weapon was an “airsoft” type replica gun that resembled a semi-automatic handgun. The orange safety indicator had been removed, police said.

A man who called police told emergency dispatchers before police arrived that the boy was on a swing set and pointing a pistol that was “probably fake” and scaring everyone.

The caller said the boy was pulling the gun in and out of his pants. “I don’t know if it’s real or not,” the caller said.

Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said the officers were not told the caller thought the gun might be fake.

The officer dispatched to the playground outside a city recreation center saw the pistol sitting on a table or bench, and watched the boy grab it and put it in his waistband, Follmer said.

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