A 12-year-old Cleveland boy shot by police on Saturday has died from his injuries, adding outrage to an already volatile situation in which police are being blamed for ignoring warnings that the boy’s gun was fake.
The unnamed boy was carrying what turned out to be a BB gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland early on Sunday morning. Police had received a 911 call about someone waving a gun and reportedly pointing it at people, and when two police officers showed up to the Cudell Recreation Center on Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard, they say the boy reached for the gun.
The officers responded by opening fire, striking the boy in the stomach.
The 12-year-old boy was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and was initially listed in serious condition, but officials said his condition worsened throughout the evening and he died in the early morning hours on Sunday.
The shooting itself is creating controversy beyond the young age of the victim. The 911 caller who first alerted police to the boy twice told a dispatcher that the gun was “probably fake,” and that the person holding the gun appeared to be a child.
“There is a guy with a pistol, it’s probably fake, but he’s pointing it at everyone,” the caller says.
That information was never relayed to police officers.
Police claimed that the orange safety marker had been scratched off the BB gun, making it hard to distinguish from a real gun. The shooting death of the 12-year-old Cleveland boy is under investigation from the police department’s Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team, and both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave.
The shooting death of the 12-year-old Cleveland boy by police comes amid other high-profile incidents involving police, including the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.