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Investigation Begins Of Fatal Police Shooting Of 12-Year-Old

A day after a 12-year-old boy died after being shot by police, the community in Cleveland is trying to understand what happened.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Cleveland police's Use of Deadly Force Investigation Team is combing through the evidence, trying to figure out if police acted appropriately. Meanwhile, WKYC-TV reports the family of the 12-year-old is conducting its own investigation.

As we told you yesterday, police responded to a 911 call complaining of a "guy" who was pointing a "probably fake" gun at people near a playground. Police say when they got to the scene, they asked the boy to put his hands up and he instead reached for his waistband.

A police officer fired two rounds, hitting Tamir Rice's torso. It turned out he was carrying a replica gun that fires plastic BBs. Rice died at a local hospital on Sunday.

WKYC-TV reports:

"Feelings of both angry and shocked, friends and family brought posters, candles and teddy bears to the area Sunday.

"'I'm trying not to cry about the situation but the situation hurts,' said a family friend of Tamir, Gregory Henderson.

"Henderson tells WKYC he is still in shock to hear that Tamir passed away at the hands of police.

"'Who would've thought he would go so soon?' Henderson said. 'He had his whole life ahead. To be 12 years old, he doesn't know what he's doing. Police they know what they're doing.'"

The Plain Dealer reports that the case will eventually be turned over to a grand jury, who will decide whether or not to charge the officer in the shooting.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is an international correspondent for NPR. He was named NPR's Mexico City correspondent in 2022. Before that, he was based in Cape Town, South Africa.
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