Death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice ruled a homicide, medical examiner says

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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.

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.

FOX8 in Cleveland reports Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, is boarded a plane to Washington, D.C. Friday to take part in an upcoming March Against Police Violence.

Joining her will be dozens of others from the Cleveland area, who are taking a bus to Washington Friday night.

The march is scheduled for Saturday.

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67 comments

  • Cheryl

    HE HAD A GUN!!! There is no time to ask if it was real or not. If it had been, it could have been another police officer shot by someone who blatantly refused to do what he was told. Is an unfortunate accident. Where were this kids parents when he was pointing a gun at people??

    • Adam

      The second amendment says we have the right to bear arms. So the fact that he had a gun, is not a reason to shoot him. Two seconds is not enough time to assess a situation.

      • marianne

        Adam, your US amendment should have been erased years ago. Don’t you see where it is going? In Europe it would be impossible to walk around with a gun, or even purchase a gun without a special license. The Wild West doesn’t exist anymore, but still , your government allows this trade, and every single day there will be more deaths all over the states. You are killing each other… What is right about that?

      • Bill

        Adam, you clearly do not know what you’re talking about. The second amendment does not give anyone the right to walk around brandishing weapons, let alone a minor. There are plenty of other laws, both state and federal, that regulate the lawful ownership and possession of firearms.

      • Dave

        Adam, ever been in a deadly force situation? Didn’t think so. Two seconds is enough time for someone to draw and fire. The officer saw a person reaching for a gun.
        Marianne, the second amendment is there for a reason. In the twentieth century over one hundred million people were killed off by their governments. This was in only three countries. Germany, the USSR, and China. They all disarmed their citizenry, first. That was only three countries. That doesn’t count Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, N. Korea, Nicaragua, Vinezuala, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and so many more. Also, as a nation that recognizes “Nature’s Law and the Laws of Nature’s Creator.” We have an inherent right to defend ourselves. You would not begrudge a gazelle using its horns to fend off a lion, would you? Would you make all humans prey to the human predators?

      • Cynthia sandersom

        Adam,

        Are you kidding me??? What he was doing was illegal!, threatening others is a crime in ohio and that what he was doing. Plus minors can’t bear arms. Get a grip.

      • Dave

        Under the law, the fact that it was a pellet gun (not a toy) is moot. If the officer reasonably believed it to be a real gun and that his life was in danger, he had a right to use deadly force to defend himself. Check the law, folks.

      • Cynthia sandersom

        A toy gun is a nerf gun this was not a toy and it was altered to look real. If had held up a bank with this same gun it old be armed robbery.

      • David

        It wasn’t a toy gun. It was a pettet gun and they can cause damage, even kill if shot in the right place in the head. Look on the internet for comparisons between it and firearms, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Rice was 195 lbs. and 5’7″, he looked like an adult and when the police came up he pointed the gun at them.

    • janet

      Who removed the orange safety tip the Federal law requires be mounted on a replica gun like that?
      Whoever removed the orange safety tip painted a “SHOOT ME” sign

      • David

        It didn’t have a safety tip because it was not a toy gun, it was a pellet gun, which can be deadly if shot in the face.

    • John

      My friends and I ran around our neighborhood playing cops and robbers with toy guns all the friggin’ time, and it never once entered our heads that someone might call the cops on us, even though this was before all toy guns required an orange cap on the end. We just assumed that people would recognize they were toy guns because we were elementary school students. Furthermore, none of our parents ever said anything, because they assumed the same – that no one would mistake a kid with a toy gun for an actual threat, because even though the guns were realistic, it was clear we were just kids playing around in the neighborhood. It would never occur to me now to tell kids not to play with toy guns outside, at least until this incident happened. I’m just baffled here, because that was how I grew up, and no one, not parents, not neighbors, no one, ever said a word about it. And yet everyone’s outraged that this kid should’ve known better, that this kid’s parents should’ve known better, etc. Did no one play with toy guns as kids?

      • Cynthia sandersom

        How old are you? And do you live in a high crime area? Did you live in a time and age when school shootings by similar aged kids is the norm?

    • Miles

      This is why you are not a police officer… and Marianne you want to stereotype another country you have probably never been to, excellent choice.

    • kim fisher

      cop screamed “drop your weapon” boy reaches into his waistband to get gun & was shot!!! who says that he wasn’t TRYING to do what he was told!!!!

      • Corey Butler

        You people are so dumb those cops had every intention on killing that kid when they drove up we don’t know if the cops ordered him to do anything u can’t here shit.

    • Hector.

      Shut your dumb a$$ up he was at a recreation center in the video it clearly showed the kid was just playing but you are to much of a bigot to see it

    • Dil

      The real problem I see with your statement is that you are victim-blaming a 12 y/o child. He has less of a duty to understand the reality of the world than the ADULT police officers who have sworn an oath to protect and serve. To that point, I have viewed this video many times and have come to the following conclusion:

      The following statements rest on the fact the officers were told a black male has a gun. Given that, one of the following is true:

      1) The two officers involved in this video are so poorly trained, they placed the passenger side officer in the direct line of fire, ‘forcing’ him to shoot Rice.
      2) They drove up that quickly with the INTENT of taking the victim by surprise and shooting before he could fire first.

      The alternative that would have ended with no loss of life:

      1) Stop the police car at some distance and utilize the loud speaker to order the suspect to drop his weapon and lay on the ground. Give him the opportunity to comply. Take him into custody and learn the gun is fake. Give him a stern lecture. Call his parents and make sure me makes it home safely.

      In the aftermath, their justification falls apart. Utterly.

      1) The officers said in their report that they ordered him to drop his weapon three times. From the time the car stops until the time the officer shoots is less than 3 seconds. Thus, as evidenced by the video, that is a blatant lie.
      2) The officers said he was with other people at time of the shooting. As evidenced by the video, that is blatant a lie.

      Even Worse, during his previous stint as a police officer, he was deemed unfit to carry a gun and in the process of being dismissed. This indicates a STUNNING lack of screening on the part of the Cleveland PD.

      Given all these FACTS, especially that the officers involved lied on the police report, I have ZERO reason to believe anything they say in their own defense.

    • Bianca

      Cheryl the cop told him to drop the weapon he pulled it out of his pocket probably to show it was fake and the cut shot him. The boy did as he was told….and the police killed him. They were negligent/

  • Alton Darwin

    As the video CLEARLY shows, the officers LIED about there being a group of people with Rice when they arrived; they LIED about him tucking the gun into his waistband; they LIED about him drawing the gun out; and they LIED about giving him verbal commands THREE times before firing.

    Since there were no other citizens in harm’s way, they did not have to pull up onto the grass of the park and start shooting. They COULD HAVE pulled up and parked at a safe distance to ASSESS the threat. Again, HE DID NOT HAVE A DEADLY WEAPON (even if it looked like one); IT WAS NOT DRAWN; and NO SHOTS HAD BEEN REPORTED AS BEING FIRED.

    • Tyrone Smith

      Are you crazy? I don’t where you go this information from but the person at fault is the childs parents. Since when is it okay to give a child a weapon(Non deadly,still not a toy) and let them run around in public with the red tip removed? The police got a complaint that a child was playing with a gun or a toy gun (police have to assume its real because it is better to be safe then dead). The police are 100% not at fault here. The gun manufacturer is not at fault (16+ or with parental guidance), the store is not at fault (Need an ID to purchase), Laws state you can’t remove the red part on the gun. Long story short cops were called because there was a complaint someone was playing with a gun when approached the kid quickly went towards the weapon and the cop had a second to react. It sucks that it happened but the officer is also a victim here. It is plain and simple the parents fault. Their negligence caused this. I hope they had a good excuse for not looking after their child and that they just weren’t on the phone or being lazy.

      • Name Withheld

        Stopped reading after the third sentence because you clearly did not read the article completely. You’re blaming Tamir’s parents for giving him a gun that they state they didn’t give to him. You need to read up facts before you make any assumptions.

      • Miles

        That is not how you start a conversation. Skipping what the other person said, calling them crazy, and then smothering us with that crazy opinion of yours. You need to worry about your own problems before telling us how it’s the kids parents fault, its a god damn tragedy that this kid was murdered. The mom even said she didn’t allow him to have a gun. You do not have kids and if you do I bet you are not raising them.. at all.

      • Cynthia sandersom

        I want to know name of kid who gave tamir this gun. If it’s true. Which I doubt because I’ve seen pictures of Tamirs brother with guns… Be it real or pellet… Then the mom should be going after that kid too.

    • Cynthia sandersom

      I live by that park. That video shows a minuscule area of the park it doesn’t show the whole park. It doesn’t show his sister who was there either. Do you live here.

  • Fedup

    What a surprise. Nobody would deny it was a homicide. Even the policeman who shot him is smart enough to know it is a homicide. That’s when the intellect ends and the morons take over. There are many kinds of homicide. There is intentional homicide and unintentional homicide. There is culpable homicide and justified homicide. The head line implies but does not say that this is a very important revelation. It would be dull for the press to say that homicide is simply the death of a person at the hands of another. The press continues its incendiary articles on anything that can be stretched into a racial matter.

    • Tyrone Smith

      Just because it is a Homicide doesn’t mean he did anything wrong. Just means he wasn’t immediately threatened at the time. Doing roof repair when you don’t secure your tool box and it falls and hits someone is manslaughter because it was negligence not accidental. You still wont be held accountable.

      • D

        Manslaughter will still get you jail time. It is still just pure reaction because of the idiots in MO and NY and they needed a scape goat because another black got killed by a cop. Remember it’s never their fault. If the kid would have been white it would be nothing more than a tragic but justified shooting.

  • Killian

    Is anyone going to report on the fact that the police suspected Tamir and his sister of planning to hold people up in the park with that “toy” gun?

    Also, did anyone interview the responding EMS regarding statements Tamir’s mother made in transit to the hospital? Goes something like this: “I don’t want $3 million, I want $10 million.” (already concerning herself with a settlement while her son is dying)

    She puts on a good act for the cameras though after being coached. It’s not about the money, it’s about a conviction. It’s about justice. Good job, Crump.

    • kim fisher

      people have been buying their kids toy guns forever (Ralphie, a Christmas story) remember the silver ones. but how was he supposed to drop the gun WITHOUT reaching into his waistband to get it??? a 12 year old mind was probably scared at being screamed at & was trying to show him it was a toy!!

    • Cynthia sandersom

      It is a crime to threaten someone. Even saying I’m going to kill you… In ohio is a crime if that person feels in danger (menacing) so the 911 caller felt threatened enough to call 911. So tamir was committing a crime.

  • cleveguy

    grew up in the area for many years and used to go to that rec center all the time for middle school. this is not a good area and their has been crime AND DEATHS here before. Please know the facts before you type something. This is a rough part of town and I would have thought it was a real weapon when I heard the dispatch call. Drugs and crime are prevalent in this area.

  • HCE

    What consequences has the 911 dispatcher faced?? It was her mistake that played a huge role. I can’t find any information on this at all!! Follow up!

    • Tyrone Smith

      The 911 dispatcher is not at fault. Any case where it can be a weapon they assume it is a weapon. They can’t trust the opinion of an eye witness. If there is a 9/10 chance its a toy that 1/10 is enough to assume it is a weapon. The sad fact is that kids his age get guns and shoot people. It is a sad fact of the world we live in.

  • marianne

    You are all talking about… might have been a toy gun!!!There shouldn’t be anybody out there carrying a gun, it is illegal here in Europe, quite logical to me,your wild west mentality just kills you and it is wrong!!! Get your government to change it, otherwise it will never ever stop, for gods sake!!!

  • Gunny

    I hope we do get to a point of “when a police officer rolls up. shoot him before he shoots you”. There main goal is to protect and serve. Some officers do inadvertently make mistakes. If we do not identify the difference, we become part of the problem. Sometimes, the wrong person gets killed. It happens. Let there be some kind of official repercussion and lets move forward so the good officers who are following correct procedures can continue be safe while they continue protecting and serving their community.

  • Cyberdactyl

    It’s not up to the medical examiner to declare a homicide. It his job to comment HOW the person was killed. Not the why. Not sure why these journalists keep spreading mis-truths to stir up the minorities.

    • Mark Smith

      I know why the “news corps” spread the lies and half-truths…..because it sells. The idiotic Amerikaner public can’t reason ….ex: Zimmerman,
      Briwn, and now this kid.
      As Obamas boy (Gruber) testified, ” americsns are too stupid to
      Know any better”…..unfortunately, he’s right.

  • Big dog

    What does a ruling of homicide have to do with it? It’s normal that an officer killing another in the line of duty to have the ME label it a homicide it is the act of one human killing another . In all likelihood he will and should not be charged pulling a gun out of your waistband as an officer confronts you is a stupid fatal mistake there is no way to know if it’s fake even if 911 told him the callers suspicion it was “probably” fake carries no weight in how you respond to a weapon being pulled. This kid even removed the tip !

  • Dave

    Of course it is ruled a homicide. All that means is that he was killed by another human being. It wasn’t suicide and it wasn’t natural causes or a car crash. What is news worthy about calling it a suicide. He was reaching for what the officers believed to be a deadly weapon.

  • Miss justice

    You need to stop that bullshit. He was a kid. America is not a 3 world country fight for justice. This is the United States. We ate free to make mistakes. That why we have the judge, jury, and police. Policy are in order. World order. Stop live in the past. We fight for injustice. And you need to learn that. I bet you are white. You have a free lifestyle not matter what you do. You can rob, rape, are kill and there nothing will happen to you but probation and class. Take to me when you can live my life. Trying see what it like to be a black woman or man in America now. We need to fight for injustice in our lives. I’m stand up

    • Jaclyn

      You’re ridiculous! Just b/c someone’s white doesn’t mean they can get away w/anything and everything they do that’s wrong. Someone always has to make it a race issue.

    • Cynthia sandersom

      Ok really perhaps your life would be easier if you had a better grasp on the English language. Did you graduate from high school. That’s the problem. You can’t even type a sentence with correct grammar. Perhaps this is rude but you fall into the stereotype. Get an education. Get a career. You want change? Be part of it.

  • kim fisher

    I keep listening to different accounts of what was said before the child shot, I’m hearing that the police screamed drop the gun & child reached into his waistband & was shot?? kind of like the gas station cop screaming show me your ID & when man reached for ID, he was shot???

  • Mark Smith

    The suspect pulled a pistol from his pants, and the police shot him…this is murder? I suggest Cleveland PD and County Sheriffs Depts go a 4 week sabbatical. Then the brainless public that consider this a murder will experience murder, arson, rape, vandalism, assault, etc. as it truly is. This head-hunting of our Police Depts that risk their lives minute by minute is our if hand. Of course, thanks to the brainless flecs like Obama, Holder and their new “boy”….Al Sharp-yon….this uneducated perspective will continue.

  • maria wright

    my son is a police officer and 99% are wonderful and you never show that. that kid who had a fake gun in the park was threatening other kids with a fake gun. so you are a police officer, put 2 guns behind your back pull out both of them , one is a fake and one is a real , the kid pulls out both, which is the fake and which one is fake or real. you have one second which is real and what witch is fake ; wrong decision you are dead, if you can make that decision become a COP!!!!!!!!

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