Cleveland police chief: We need to teach our kids that guns are not toys

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Tamir Rice Photo Credit: Timothy Kucharski

Tamir Rice
Photo Credit: Timothy Kucharski

CLEVELAND- Authorities gave an update Monday on the officer-involved shooting death of a 12-year-old boy.

Tamir E. Rice died Sunday after being shot in the abdomen in the playground of Cleveland’s Cudell Recreation Center Saturday afternoon.

Police were called to reports of a male waving and pointing what appeared to be a gun at people in the playground. It turned out to be an airsoft gun.

Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association President Jeff Follmer said when officers arrived at the scene, they commanded the boy to put his hands up.

“As they approached the male, they are screaming at him put your hands up, put your hands up; they don’t want his hands to go anywhere down by the waistband,” said Follmer.

A police officer was about 10 feet away from the boy when he fired a shot.

Police say the airsoft gun resembled a real gun, and had an orange safety tab ‎removed.

"The officer is very distraught," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at Monday's press conference.  He went on to say, "From this tragedy we can teach our children about the dangers of weapons- mainly handguns- real or fake. Guns are not toys. We need to teach our kids that."

The department will not release the officer's name, nor will they yet release video of the incident.

The chief said they did offer the family the opportunity to view the video but the family declined. A representative from the family did view the video.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and the police chief both said they are praying for the family.

"I am asking residents to continue to pray for the family and for our city," Jackson said.

The family's attorney, Timothy Kucharski, released the following statement on Monday: "The family is grieving a beautiful, 12-year-old boy that was loved by his family and friends.  At this time, the family is not making any public statements.  They ask for privacy during this time of grieving."

The officers involved are on administrative leave, which is protocol, and an official statement still needs to be taken from the officer who opened fire.

*Click here for much more on the investigation*

Follow more in our blog below and stay with FOX 8 News and FOX8.com for continuing coverage.