CLEVELAND, Ohio — The 12-year-old boy wielding what turned out to be a BB gun when he was shot by police outside a Cleveland recreation center died early Sunday morning, a police union official confirmed.
The boy, whose name has not been officially released, was shot in the stomach at Cudell Recreation Center, at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard, about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
He was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in serious condition, EMS officials said. Throughout the night his condition deteriorated and he died early Sunday, Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president Jeff Follmer said.
The shooting came after a man at the park adjacent to the rec center called police when he saw “a guy with a gun pointing it at people.”
The caller twice said the gun was “probably fake” and told dispatchers the person pulling the gun from his waistband was “probably a juvenile,” according to audio released by police officials late Saturday.
The caller’s doubt was never relayed to the responding officers – one in his first year on the force, and the other with at least a decade of experience, Follmer said.
The rookie officer saw the boy at a park bench pick up what looked like a gun and placed it in his waistband, Follmer said.
SAME OLD STORY:
The officer ordered the boy to put his hands in the air. Instead, police said, the boy reached for his gun. Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said the boy made no verbal threats to the officer and there was no physical confrontation.
The officer fired twice at the boy, hitting him in the stomach at least once.
The department’s Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is investigating the shooting. Detectives recovered the weapon, which turned out to be a BB gun with the orange safety marker scratched off, police said.
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The officer remained hospitalized at Fairview Hospital with an ankle injury, Follmer and police officials said. He and his veteran partner have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.