The Cleveland officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy on Saturday was a new officer who fired his gun within moments of arriving on the scene, according to surveillance video and police statements released Wednesday.
Tamir Rice was shot Saturday after police responded to a 911 call about a person who may have had a gun at a playground. He died the following day. Rice, however, was not carrying a real gun, but rather a toy airsoft pistol that didn’t have an orange safety indicator at the end of the barrel.
The grainy surveillance video released by authorities shows that Rice was shot less than two seconds after officers arrived on the scene. Edward Tomba, deputy chief of the Cleveland Police Department, said Wednesday that the officers called three times for Rice to drop his weapon.
The officer who shot Tamir Rice was 26-year-old Timothy Loehman, who joined Cleveland’s force from a smaller department in March, Tomba said Wednesday. The other officer on the scene was 46-year-old Frank Garmback, a six-year veteran. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Before the deadly shooting, a man called 911 complaining that “a guy” was pointing a pistol at people, but said twice on the call that the gun was likely a fake, according to a call released by the police.
“It’s probably fake, but it’s scaring the sh-t out of people,” said the caller. The dispatcher did not relay the information to officers that the gun may have been fake, according to a released tape.
Police said they are investigating the shooting, and that they will pass the results of the investigation on to local prosecutors within 90 days. A spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor says the office will eventually present all evidence to a grand jury with a recommendation on whether to charge the officers.
The Cuyahoga prosecutor’s office has a policy of presenting evidence to a grand jury in every case in which police officers use deadly force and typically recommends charges, the spokesman said. Five police officers in the district were indicted for manslaugher in May 2014 in relation to a November 2012 killing of two unarmed people.
Several hundred people protested Rice’s shooting and the grand-jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., in Cleveland on Tuesday evening, blocking rush-hour traffic on an area freeway while chanting “No justice, no peace,” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
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