A 12-year-old boy who was shot by Ohio police for allegedly carrying what now appears to be an “airsoft” replica toy gun at a playground died Sunday morning, officials said.
On Saturday afternoon, two officers responded to a call for a man holding a gun outside of a Cleveland recreation center, according to a release published by the Cleveland Division of Police. Details from the preliminary investigation revealed that witnesses reported seeing a man waiving a gun and pointing it at people inside the playground area. According to the report, police arrived and ordered the suspect to raise his hands. When the 12-year-old reportedly didn’t comply and reached into his waistband for the gun, the release continues, officers fired shots that struck the boy in the torso.
The shooting victim was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he died Sunday morning. An officer was also transported to a local hospital for an ankle injury, police said in the report.
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Additional information indicates the child possessed an “airsoft” gun resembling a semi-automatic pistol, according to the document. Both officers were placed on administrative leave, which is protocol after an officer-involved shooting incident.
The shooting is just one in a long string of recent tragedies across the country that have incited tension between authorities and residents. A novice New York Police Department officer fatally shot a 28-year-old man in a Brooklyn stairwell last Thursday night in what appears to be an accidental discharge. Two other NYPD policemen are under criminal investigation after being caught on surveillance video pistol-whipping a teenage marijuana suspect in August.
Police brutality also received renewed national attention in South Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Missouri, where officer Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Residents and authorities in Ferguson are preparing for a St. Louis grand jury’s decision on whether or not to indict Wilson.