(WTVM) - Tamir Rice is the 12-year-old Cleveland boy shot and killed by police while carrying a BB gun that police apparently thought was a 45-caliber handgun.
Someone had taken the bright orange tip off the barrel of the gun - which identifies it as a toy or BB gun.
Tamir was pointing this extremely realistic-looking gun at people in a public park and bystanders called police. When Tamir didn't drop the gun, a rookie officer fired – with tragic results.
Some realistic toy guns are even painted orange all over to help distinguish them as toys.
We don't know why someone removed the orange tip from Tamir's gun. Anyone could also paint the tip black.
One of the biggest factors that led to Tamir's death is that the BB gun he held looked very, very real to the police.
It turns out there is surveillance video of the shooting, so that may eventually provide some clear answers as to why this happened.
Meanwhile, the police do the best they can when forced to make split-second life and death decisions. We can only imagine the grief of Tamir's family in wake of his tragic death.
Unfortunately we also know parental responsibility also plays a big role in this case. Did anyone talk to Tamir about guns? Real ones? Toy guns? And how to be responsible with both?
Parents everywhere should make sure they talk to their children about what happened to Tamir.
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