‘Replica guns must be marked’

The shooting dead of a 12-year-old boy by police in Cleveland, Ohio after brandishing what turned out to be a replica gun has sparked an investigation into his death and a call from State Rep Alicia Reece of Cincinnati to call for such weapons to be brightly coloured or bear special markings.

The boy, identified by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner as Tamir Rice, died from his wounds on Sunday, a day after officers responded to a 911 call about someone waving a “probably fake” gun at a playground.

Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said one officer fired twice after the boy pulled the fake weapon — which was lacking the orange safety indicator usually found on the muzzle — from his waistband but had not pointed it at police. The boy did not make any verbal threats but grabbed the replica handgun after being told to raise his hands, Tomba said.

“That’s when the officer fired,” he said.

Police described the weapon as an “airsoft” type replica that resembled a semi-automatic handgun. The orange safety indicator had been removed, police said.

The two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, . The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the officers are a first-year rookie and a 10-year department veteran.


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