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US police investigate as officers shoot and kill 12-year-old Ohio boy holding air gun

US POLICE began an investigation yesterday into the death of a 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by Cleveland officers after he brandished a replica gun.

The boy died from his wounds on Sunday, a day after officers responded to an emergency call about someone waving a “probably fake” gun at a playground.

He was identified by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner as Tamir Rice.

Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said that one officer had fired twice after the boy pulled the fake weapon — which was lacking the usual orange safety indicator on the muzzle — but had not pointed it at police.

The boy did not make any verbal threats but had grabbed the replica handgun after being told to raise his hands, Mr Tomba said.

Police described the weapon as an “airsoft” replica that resembled a semi-automatic handgun.

Its orange safety indicator had been removed, police said.

The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. 

Cleveland newspapers reported that the officers were a first-year rookie and a 10-year veteran.

The man who made the call had told dispatchers that the boy was on a swing and pointing a pistol that was “probably fake.”

“I don’t know if it’s real or not,” the caller had said.

State Representative Alicia Reece said on Sunday that she would introduce legislation to require all BB, air and airsoft guns to be brightly coloured or have visible fluorescent strips.

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