The father of the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed a 12-year-old boy wielding a pellet gun has defended his son’s behavior in a statement to Northwest Ohio Media Group.
The officer, 26-year-old Tim Loehmann, shot and killed the boy, Tamir Rice, mere seconds after accosting him in a Cleveland park. The incident was captured on video, and has sparked outrage in the ongoing protests against police abuse sparked by Officer Darren Wilson’s killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in September.
According to Loehmann’s father, Fred Loehmann, his son was unaware how young Rice actually was, and he believed that the boy was in possession of a real gun. Loehmann told Cleveland.com that his son is “living his life” and doing “pretty well” in the days following the shooting. He claims his son has said, “I was right there, and he went for the gun. I had no choice.”
Loehmann had only been on the Cleveland police force for eight months when the shooting occurred. Prior to graduating from the Cleveland police academy, he worked for two years in the small, suburban town of Independence, Ohio. Loehmann’s father also had a career in law enforcement, as he worked for the New York Police Department from 1966 to 1986.
In a course of action familiar to those who followed Officer Wilson’s legal proceedings in Missouri, Officer Loehmann’s use of deadly force is currently under investigation. The evidence is expected to be presented to a grand jury in Cuyahoga County.