12-year old boy with airsoft gun shot by police in Cleveland

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This weekend officers responding to a 911 call in Ohio entered into a one-sided gunfight against a youth armed with what turned out to be an airsoft replica handgun.

The call

According to Fox 8,Cleveland Police responded to a call made at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon to the 911 dispatch. The caller, an older man, advised that a young man in a camouflage cap and grey jacket had some sort of handgun that he was taking out of his pants and pointing at people at the Cuddell Recreation Center, a playground in the area.

The caller described the subject as "probably a juvenile" and that the gun was "probably a fake."


The full 911 call, obtained by obtained by WJW in which the complainant, speaking calmly, tells dispatcher several times the gun may be fake and the subject may be a juvenile.

The incident

According to KTLA, two CPD officers responded immediately and located the boy in question. After telling him to raise his hands, the boy instead reached into his waistband and grabbed what police took to be a firearm. With this, one of the officers fired, striking the boy twice in the abdomen.



With the 12-year old youth, currently unidentified, rushed to the hospital in serious condition, the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending further review.

According to Cleveland.com, the officer who fired was a rookie cop new to the job.

The gun recovered from the boy, according to authorities, is "an airsoft type replica gun resembling a semi-automatic pistol" that had its orange safety indicator removed.

12-year old boy with airsoft gun shot by police in Cleveland - Editor - airsofts-378.jpg
(WJTV)

Upon examination of the photos of the item, it looks rather like a non-blowback 1911-style spring gun that you can pick up widely for about $20.

12-year old boy with airsoft gun shot by police in Cleveland - Editor - cleveland-police-officer-shoots-12-year-old-boy-04600e4e02eb25eb-379.jpg

While details of the airsoft incident are slim as it is a developing story, Cleveland just had to pay out a $3 million settlement to the relatives of two people killed in a 2012 incident in which officers fired 137-shots at subjects later found to be unarmed.

Attorneys in that lawsuit called the incident "probably one of the worst cases of police misconduct" in U.S. history and its specter is sure to loom over Saturday's shooting.

What are your opinions on this weekend's case? Tragically, could it have been avoided by leaving the orange tip in place and following proper gun-safety practices?

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36 COMMENTS
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  10:12 AM
He was probably trying to take his pistol out of his belt. Just a word of advice, if you ever get into a situation like this, (You shouldn't ever.) you should always tell the cops exactly what you're doing. It seems like most of these cases entail cops getting too jumpy, when someone doesn't tell them what they're reaching for or why they're moving their hands. Frankly, he deserved it. Everyone here knows not to do retarded crap like this. Should be a parent's #1 responsibility to educate about guns.
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  01:14 PM
What kind of dumb mofo reaches for whatever after being told to raise your hands? I see fault in both sides in this event.
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  04:00 PM
These police shootings wouldn't happen if people did a few things. One, put your hands up. Two, no sudden movements. Three, comply with everything they tell you to do. Four, don't mouth off. It isn't hard. You might not like the police, but do it. If that idiot kid had just done what I mentioned above, this story would have ended differently.
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  04:32 PM
The kid was 12. I don't know if you remember how "dumb" you were at 12, but it's kind of universal at that age. This is a tragedy; we don't need to be hammering the poor dead kid.
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  07:13 PM
My heart goes out to the family, but 'one of the worst cases of police misconduct'? Give me a goddamn break - that is utter BS. That idiot of a kid did everything wrong, and the police were pressed into a situation where it was, or at least appeared to be, 'shoot or be shot'. Yeah, sure, the caller did state that the gun is likely fake. Yeah, sure, the officer who fired is a rookie. But when it comes down to it, how do you think it looks to the officers when you reach for a weapon INSTEAD OF PUTTING YOUR FRIGGIN' HANDS UP?
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  07:17 PM
Oh boy, he was black... This reinforces people's thoughts about how officers and others are quick to react when someone isn't white. I think it's insane that they would shoot, especially without him even threatening the officers. I honestly doubt that a 12 year old would even shoot. I know when I was that age I didn't even like to hunt animals, let alone shoot a person!
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  07:46 PM
@papacoleman

Right, because we were all dumb enough to the point where we wouldn't put our hands up to police.
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  07:55 PM
facts of the matter, the boy should have raised his hand, but even so the officer should shoot to wound not to kill so both are in the wrong but this isn't the first time this has happened, were officers have shot people aiming to kill. The officers code is to always preserve life not take life which obviously didn't apply in this situation.
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  09:20 PM
I hate seeing stories like this. This kind of thing should never happen. Shame on the kid for reaching for a gun when the cops told him to put his hands in the air. Shame on that kids parents for letting him take the damn thing to a playground. Also, I feel bad for the rookie cop. In the moment he might have thought he was going to die. Now he has to live the rest of his life knowing he shot a 12 year old boy who in the end didn't deserve it.
 
Posted: 
November 23, 2014  •  11:16 PM
@AKDRHINO Shooting to wound is something that most officers actually do not do, either due to training or simple practicality. There's an article on it somewhere written by a police officer; can't find it at the moment but if I do I'll edit it in. Thing is, the torso is a much larger target area, and shooting an extremity isn't exactly foolproof either - there are plenty of critical areas (brachial artery, radial artery, femoral artery, etc.) in the limbs that could lead to death if ruptured.
 
Posted: 
November 24, 2014  •  08:32 AM
I believe this one is on the kid.

1). He WAS pointing it at people, from what the caller claimed.

2). When told to raise his hands, he reached into his waist

The cop responded like any normal person would. He was scared for his life, and he reacted accordingly. And wounding the kid? Do you believe that the cop was thinking straight in what he thought may be the final seconds of his life? Getting in a leg shot or arm shot isn't as easy as it is in airsoft, and especially under pressure such as this.

Bottom line, do what you're told when you have gun pointed at you. Don't blame the cop for wanting to live. Blame the child for misconduct in general.
 
Posted: 
November 24, 2014  •  09:23 AM
@Jables I completely disagree with you, yes the kid was being a bit of an idiot, but there are a lot of kids who simply do not know the proper gun safety, and police officers must be aware of this. Police officers should NOT do what any normal person would do. They are supposed to protect, even at the cost of their own life, and except when completely necessary should not try and kill. In this case the proper attitude for the police officer should have been assuming there was a kid with a toy gun, and although still displaying cation, should have been prepared to get shot before shooting to make sure an innocent twelve year old was not killed. Yes the kid may have been a crazy lunatic with a semi auto pistol ready to shoot the nearest cop, but that is unlikely (especially sense the kid was pointing it at other people as well without firing making it seam that he was just displaying appalling gun safety)

The fact is that a police officer shouldn't start shooting people just because they panic whenever there is a chance they might get shot. There are situations where his actions would be justifiable (such as with an older person who looks like they are on drugs and have been threatening people or are believed to be criminals) but this is not that situation. Yes the kid was in the wrong, yes he should have put his hands up, but did his actions justify being shot. I don't think so.

Sorry for the long post really wanted to put my feelings on the matter out there for someone to trash.
 
Posted: 
November 24, 2014  •  01:22 PM
"The gun recovered from the boy, according to authorities, is "an airsoft type replica gun resembling a semi-automatic pistol" that had its orange safety indicator removed."

Seems like officers had no choice in the matter. If the gun at least had its orange tip they might have reacted differently. The blame lies with the kid and the parents for not properly educating him.
 
Posted: 
November 24, 2014  •  04:52 PM
I think the kid was just scared and didn't know what to do. He was probably taking out the pistol to put it on the ground. Cops are already trained to take anything that looks like a weapon as a weapon and treat it as such. He still shouldn't have been walking around and pointing an airsoft gun at people. The whole orange tip thing is also pretty stupid. People won't notice an orange tip as the first thing on the gun, besides you could paint an orange tip on a real gun. The problem here is that the kid didn't treat the airsoft gun as a real gun, like it should be treated. They're not toys and people need to learn that.
 
Posted: 
November 24, 2014  •  05:30 PM
@Corvette6580 Right - let me rephrase, the orange tip thing was in addition to not even having it in the first place. He clearly was trying to make it look realistic and shouldn't have had it at all in public.
 
Posted: 
November 24, 2014  •  08:10 PM
@snakenator Since he was black the officer who shot should be condemned to death. /sarcasm
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  12:33 AM
Thank GOD for SB199. I'm actually pretty upset that the other laws that forces the airsoft gun to be painted bright colors and be transparent did not pass. If that were the case, then we wouldn't have incidents like this! Obvious when you reveal a replica firearm, people are going to treat it like a firearm.
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  12:59 AM
These are all because the people kids who wield the replicas are just STUPID. Airsoft is a sport. You don't see football players who are wearing their pads in public get shot. It's also because most cops are idiots. He was new to the job, and probably played COD and joined the police because he wanted to kill someone (which is why most people actually want to join the military). Just another stupid kid who met a stupid cop. Case closed.

P.s.- if the govt. makes a law like sb199 that applies to the entire US, I will move to Scotland. Scoutthedoggie here I come.

Edit: If anyone should have been killed, it should have been the parents. They bought him the gun and didn't supervise him with it, or worse, they LET him go outside with it. The kid most likely payed COD and started pointing it at people because he wanted his damn care package! COD and other first person shooters are at fault. Games rates 18+ should he only used by 18+, like if anyone younger played, a serious fine should be arranged. Also when buying an airsoft gun, you should sign a paper saying something like, "I will he responsible if anyone wielding this replica firearm is wounded/killed"
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  04:56 PM
@p2skater1 +1 to your moving to Scotland

@Finbarqs I don't want to be mean or anything but that is just insane. If airsoft guns are painted bright colours what is going to stop someone from painting their real gun bright colours and passing it as an airsoft gun? It wouldn't change anything. Police officers just need to treat anything that looks like a real gun as a real gun. That doesn't mean you shoot an innocent kid. It means you are careful and take proper precautions.
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  11:25 PM
My name is Alex M. Bryan. I am 18 years old, and still young at heart.
Our imperfections define us as human. Forget your dictionary, and lose your police
guidelines. A Young MAN lost his life due to improper education. Millions of people
every year die in this country due to prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, obesity, and
cancer. I am sure everyone reading this right now has somebody in mind dearest
to their heart. If you really want to help this country then help educate its sheep.
The people, our peers, need to know the truth. Our country is losing a battle every
minute, but not to police. Improper education will be our defeat. Just like this 12
year old boy, we as a country can avoid,( IF PROPERLY EDUCATED BY OUR PEERS/
PARENTS), our outstanding death toll by becoming aware. Become aware america.
IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Thank You....
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  11:29 PM
@Falco The people need to change, not the airsoft guns, rules, or guidlines. Only then can we see a change. Help educate America.
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  11:35 PM
@p2skater1 Your mentality is why america suffers. You disperse facts that are not credible, and lead to confusion. You are far from right. I am not being a smart a**, but honest. a kid died due to improper education both on the cop's stance and the minor's.(millions every year die in this country due to improper education). Before you voice your opinion pay close attention to your credibility and logic, or an 18 year old punk will tell you why your wrong. Instead of being the problem, become the solution to help educate america. Thank you.
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  11:37 PM
@BlackNightBravo The dumb mofo could have been you. What if your parents didnt care where you were at, or what you were doing. Blame poor education. The kid, and cop was victim to it. Think before you talk.
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  11:42 PM
@GamingShogun BINGO!!!!!!! OUR government needs to have a course in school about proper gun safety, with and around cops. Also we need to have people to educate our youth on Pharmacuitacal drugs, obesity, and cars. That would save atremendous amount of lives. thank you shogun!!!!!
 
Posted: 
November 26, 2014  •  11:44 PM
@I_Am_Coopa Just because your not properly educated does not mean you are an idiot. People like you assume things way too much. people like you ruin our country. I promise.
 
Posted: 
November 27, 2014  •  08:46 PM
You can't really blame the cop, or the kid. They both acted/reacted about like most people would of their respective ages and "training". The fault lies with the provider of the air soft gun. There's a reason their sale is limited to buyers age 18 and older. People need to treat these air soft guns just like real guns when outside of the home or playing field, because that is how they will be seen by others. This means securing your air soft guns from children, same as you would a real gun.
 
Posted: 
November 28, 2014  •  10:54 AM
Should have tazed him, bro.
 
Posted: 
December 1, 2014  •  03:03 AM
@Jefzwang

The "worst cases" comment was directed at the previous incident where the two unarmed suspects were killed because the police believed they had fired at their station house. It did not have anything to do with the current situation.

However, there was a lot of questionable behavior involved with that other incident. Being from Akron, OH, I tend to follow these situations. Unfortunately, in both cases, the amount of stupidity involved is and was overwhelming.
 
Posted: 
December 1, 2014  •  03:27 AM
I would like to point out a fact that is being overlooked, regardless of whether or not the gun had its orange tip it was stuffed in the kid's waist; therefore, the officer could not have seen if it had the tip or not as this would have been obscured by his pants. Thus, the only portion of the gun visible to the officer was the grip and a portion of the rear of the gun.

Remember the old saying, "if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, and acts like a duck; it's probably a duck." If it looks like a real gun, it probably is. Let us not forget that there are other specifics that come into play in such a situation. For one, given the area of this incident, it is likely that the kid, regardless of age, could very well have had a real gun. Gangs do not stop recruitment at a certain age; in fact, the younger the better because of the same thinking being presented here. Who's going to be afraid of a 12-year-old? Someone with enough brains to realize that anyone, regardless of age, can be a threat. Why do you think the Taliban and other similar organizations use kids as suicide bombers?

Additionally, there may have been other factors involved; for example, one report I saw or heard stated the kid was "special needs;" therefore, if true, it is entirely possible he reacted in this manner because he was not fully cognizant of the officer's commands, he simply reacted in a manner he thought proper.

Another article that was released shortly after the incident occurred stated the mother was unaware of her son's possession of the gun; in other words, his parents may not have given him the gun. In fact, she stated she believed it was given to him by a friend. She further stated there were no guns in her home; therefore, he may have even been hiding the gun from his parents because he knew they didn't approve of them or at least of him having one.

Overall, the incident is tragic; however, the reaction is nothing more than a knee-jerk to a deeper issue. Society refuses to accept responsibility for its own actions. That old adage it takes a village to raise a child, well, it takes a society to create a situation. In this case, the situation is a lack of common sense, plain and simple.
 
Posted: 
December 2, 2014  •  06:38 PM
@p2skater1
Most people join the military because they want to kill someone? Please. Do you really think most people who join the military want to kill people? Read this.
http://www.quora.com/Is-there-something-inherently-psychopathic-about-people-who-want-to-join-the-army
 
Posted: 
December 2, 2014  •  08:26 PM
@p2skater1 Ho boy. Where do I begin? No cop wants to kill people. They do a good job of screening out any crazy folks before they even get hired. I also Find your comment about cops being stupid very offensive as someone who works and patrols with LEOs on a regular basis. Some of them are the smartest people around, just doing what they love. Your example is flawed, seeing as how football pads aren't built to look like lethal firearms.

It sounds to me like you're the idiot who should stop running his mouth about things he doesn't know.
 
Posted: 
December 5, 2014  •  04:07 PM
@p2skater1
No. That is all.
 
Posted: 
December 10, 2014  •  01:31 PM
Wow. What about people who open carry? If people calls the cops whenever they see a gun...
 
Posted: 
December 12, 2014  •  01:11 PM
I'm gonna catch some grief for this but here are my thoughts:

As I was reading the comments I noticed most people either dissed the cop or the kid. A few people had the common sense to blame both. I think that that kid was stupid for not listening. And to respond to some people who think the cop should have aimed for the maim not the kill: cops aren't trained to injure because adrenaline will help people push past the pain, they are taught to shoot for the kill. That kid didn't actually pose a threat but the officers had to treat it like it was a threat even though they were almost certain it was a fake gun. This is logic. I also think all of you who think these cops are racist are racist yourself!
 
Posted: 
January 8, 2015  •  03:20 PM
@papacoleman Before you get a gun when your young you should be educated who cares how old he was he wasent thinking.
 
Posted: 
January 8, 2015  •  03:22 PM
@JoBro The thing is its legal to carry open but if you are pointing it at people like this kid and dont have a lincins (for a real gun) then thats when police get involved so bringing in open carries is not the best in this debate
 
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