Cleveland cops shot a 12-year-old boy at a rec center in the Ohio city Saturday afternoon, after responding to a report of a person with a gun there. But the gun turned out to be a replica “Airsoft” pistol — a BB gun — and the boy is now in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
According to the boy’s mother, Samaria Rice, the police shot her son in the stomach. He was reportedly still in surgery at 8 pm Eastern Time Saturday night.
However, police released a 911 call recording later Saturday, in which a caller is heard clearly telling the 911 dispatcher that the boy’s gun was “probably fake.”
In a similar Ohio incident in August, police in Beavercreek shot and killed a man with a BB gun inside a WalMart store.
Here’s what happened on Saturday, according to the Cleveland police account, as relayed by Deputy Chief Ed Tomba to the local media Saturday.
Sometime just before 3:30 pm, police received a call reporting a male in the playground at Cudell Rec Center at 1910 West Boulevard in Cleveland. Witnesses said that the person was waving a gun around — and even pointing the apparent weapon at other people in the rec center playground.
The cops showed up and told the alleged gunman — who turned out to be a 12-year-old boy — to put his hands up. But the boy didn’t follow their orders, Tomba said.
Instead, he reached for the gun, which was now in his waistband. The police opened fire and at least one bullet hit the 12-year-old in his torso area. But according to Tomba, the boy did not say anything threatening to the cops, and he never pointed his gun at a police officer.
“The young man had the weapon in his waistband. He pulled the weapon out. One of our officers fired two shots, striking the young man,” Tomba said.
After gunning down the 12-year-old, the police recovered the gun — and found it was the realistic replica of a semi-automatic handgun seen in the photo above. Such replica weapons are supposed to display an orange safety tab in the barrel of the gun, clearly indicating that the gun is not real.
But for some reason, the orange safety tab was not in place in the replica gun brandished by the 12-year-old boy.
In the 911 call reporting the boy wielding the gun at the rec center, an unidentified caller repeats on two occasions that the boy’s gun was most likely not real.
“I’m sitting in the park…there’s a guy in here with a pistol, and it’s probably a fake one, but he’s pointing it at everybody,” said the caller. The caller then tells the dispatcher a second time, “The guy keeps pulling it in and out…it’s probably fake, but he’s scaring the s*** out of people.”
The boy’s mom says her son had no access to a gun of any kind at home, and she has no idea why the Cleveland cops shot him in the rec center playground.
[Image courtesy of Cleveland.com]