The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice had "no choice" but to fire his weapon, the cop’s father said Monday. Surveillance video of the Nov. 22 shooting shows rookie officer Tim Loehmann firing at the boy just two seconds after stopping his patrol car outside of a city recreation center. Tamir had walked toward the car and reached into his waistband to pull out the black pellet gun, police said.
Loehmann’s father said his son didn’t know whether or not the gun was a fake, but decided he had to act. "I was right there and he went for the gun," Fred Loehmann recalled his son saying, according to Cleveland.com. "I had no choice."
Through their lawyer's spokesman, Tamir's family declined to comment on any details about Loehmann. A funeral for the boy will be held 11 a.m. ET Wednesday.
The city has so far not released statements taken from Loehmann or his partner inside the patrol car, Frank Garmback. Loehmann, who joined Cleveland police in March after spending several months with the police department in suburban Independence, is described by neighbors as a quiet, respectful guy who grew up in Catholic schools and tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, Cleveland.com reported.
"He's living his life," the elder Loehmann said. The police department is investigating the officer’s use of deadly force, and the county prosecutor has said the case will be presented for a grand jury to decide whether any charges are merited.
— Erik Ortiz, with The Associated Press