CLEVELAND — The death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot last month by Cleveland police after allegedly brandishing what authorities say was an air gun, has been ruled a homicide, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office said Friday.
The November 22 shooting outside a Cleveland recreation center is under investigation, and Rice’s family has filed a lawsuit against two officers and the city over his death.
Police say Officer Timothy Loehmann, responding with a partner to reports that Rice was pointing a weapon at people, shot the boy within two seconds of exiting his police car. Video the shooting was released by police per the family’s request.
Rice had been playing with a pellet gun, and a witness who saw “a guy with a pistol” told 911 twice that it was “probably” fake but that Rice was scaring people. It doesn’t appear the 911 dispatcher told the responding officers of the caller’s suspicions that the gun was probably fake.
Police have said that Loehmann opened fire after Tamir reached for the gun in his waistband and that an orange tip indicating the gun was a toy had been removed. Rice said she didn’t allow her son to play with toy guns, explaining that one of his friends gave it to him.