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Tamir Rice Family: Boy's Death at Hands of Police Avoidable

The family of a 12-year-old who was fatally shot by police in Cleveland while carrying a pellet gun said police "reacted quickly" in the encounter.

The family of a 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by Cleveland police when he allegedly reached for a pellet gun says the boy’s death could have been avoided, and that the officers acted "quickly" in deciding to use deadly force.

In a statement, the family of Tamir Rice thanked authorities for making public surveillance video that captured the deadly encounter Saturday afternoon, in which police were responding to a report of a person with a gun and shot the 12-year-old after he allegedly refused to show his hands.

In the video, rookie police officer Timothy Loehmann, 26, is seen shooting Tamir within seconds of arriving on the scene. It turns out Tamir had an airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets, but which police said looked like a handgun.

"The video shows one thing distinctly: the police officers reacted quickly. It is our hope that the City of Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office thoroughly examine the events outside of the Cudell Recreation Center," Tamir’s parents said in a statement Wednesday. The statement also calls for calm.

"We understand that some of you are hurt, angry and sad about our loss. But let's use those emotions in a way that will contribute to positive efforts and solutions that bring change to Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and cities across the nation as it relates to how law enforcement officials interact with citizens of color," the family said in the statement.

Loehmann and the officer who was with him, Frank Garmback, 46, were placed on administrative leave after the shooting. A grand jury will decide whether either officer will be charged in Tamir's death.


— Phil Helsel