herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Police officer shoots boy (12) dead after just two seconds

The police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun fired within one to two seconds of pulling up in his cruiser.

During those few moments, he ordered the youngster three times to put up his hands, police claimed yesterday.

The city released a surveillance video that shows the shooting of Tamir Rice, who was carrying an airsoft gun that shoots non-lethal plastic pellets.

Much of the footage shows what appears to be a bored kid alone in a park on an unseasonably warm November afternoon.

Tamir is seen pacing, occasionally extending his right arm with what appears to be a gun in his hand, talking on a cellphone and sitting a picnic table with his head resting on his arms.

The gun wasn't real, and lacked the bright orange tip that is usually put on such weapons to indicate they're not real.

Tamir's family said it has seen the video of his shooting.

"It is our belief that this situation could have been avoided and that Tamir should still be here with us," the family said in a statement released by attorneys. "The video shows one thing distinctly: the police officers reacted quickly."

The patrol officer who shot Tamir was identified yesterday as Timothy Loehmann, a 26-year-old rookie who began his career in Cleveland in March. He previously spent five months in 2012 with a department in a Cleveland suburb, but four of those months were in that city's police academy.

Loehmann's partner that day was identified as Frank Garmback, 46. He has been with the department since 2008. Both are on paid administrative leave pending a decision by the prosecutor's office on whether to pursue criminal charges.

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What is striking about the video police showed is the speed at which the shooting occurred.

At one moment, Tamir is sitting at a picnic table. He stands and a police car zooms into the frame from the right and stops near Tamir. The passenger door opens and Loehmann shoots Tamir before Garmback can get out the driver's side door.

It's unclear how far Tamir was from Loehmann when the officer shot him, but Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said Wednesday that it was less than 10 feet.

hnews@herald.ie

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