12-Year-Old Boy Dies of Gunshot Wound from Cleveland Police Officer

Internal Investigation Under Way

A 12-year-old boy died this morning of a gunshot wound sustained yesterday by a Cleveland police officer at Cudell Rec Center on West Boulevard.

[UPDATE: The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office identified the 12-year-old boy as Tamir Rice on Sunday afternoon.]

Officers responded at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday to reports of a person "pulling [a gun] out of his pants and pointing it at people."

WCPN's Nick Castele posted the 9-1-1 audio last night. You can hear the caller refer to the weapon as "probably fake" on two occasions. The caller also said that the person was "probably a juvenile, you know?" The boy was holding an “airsoft”-type replica gun resembling a semi-automatic pistol with the orange safety indicator removed, according to Cleveland police.

The responding officers included a first-year officer and a veteran of at least 10 years. The younger officer saw the boy reach for the gun and place it in his waistband upon arrival. When the officer ordered the boy to put his hands in the air, the boy reached for the gun and did not make any threats, according to Cleveland police. The younger officer shot twice, hitting the boy at least once in the stomach. The boy was taken to MetroHealth and admitted for surgery yesterday afternoon.

But here's a key element in the incident, as reported by NEOMG's Cory Shaffer:
The caller's doubt was never relayed to the responding officers - one in his first year on the force, and the other with at least a decade of experience, [Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president Jeff] Follmer said.
The Cleveland Division of Police Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is currently investigating the shooting. Both officers are being placed on administrative leave.
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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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