Tamir Rice Case: Officer Says He 'Knew It Was a Gun' and Aimed for Weapon, According to Statement
The officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland last year, said he "knew it was a gun and it was coming out" before he opened fire and repeatedly warned the boy to put his hands up, according to newly released statements from the cop and his partner.
The unsworn statements given Monday to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and released today by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, mark the first time that officer Timothy Loehmann and his partner's versions of events has been made public.
Rice had been holding a toy gun when officer Timothy Loehmann allegedly shot him in November 2014 and claimed in his statement that he was aiming for the 12-year-old's weapon.
Loehmann said he and his partner responded to a report of a "male waiving [sic] a gun and pointing at people" and he saw the suspect put something into his waistband.
When Rice turned towards the patrol car, Loehmann claimed he "yelled continuously 'show me your hands' as loud as I could," the statement said.
Loehmann said the suspect "appeared to be over 18 years old and about 185 pounds."
"The suspect lifted his shirt reached down into his waistband. We continued to yell 'show me your hands.' I was focused on the suspect," Loehmann wrote. "Even when he was reaching into his waistband, I didn't fire. I still was yelling the command 'show me your hands.'"
Loehmann said the suspect "had been threatening others with the weapon and had not obeyed our command to show us his hands," according to the statement. "He was facing us. This was an active shooter situation."
"I had very little time as I exited the vehicle...I observed the suspect pulling the gun out of the waistband with his elbow coming up," he wrote.
Video shows rice being shot in less than 2 seconds after car door opens.
Loehmann said he and his partner were still yelling "show me your hands."
"With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out," he wrote. "I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active."
He said he fired two shots, aiming towards the gun in Rice's hand, the statement said, based on "tap-tap" training.