Crime-scene investigators gather evidence after a Cleveland police officer shot a 12-year-old who had a fake gun.
ABC 5 Cleveland screenshot

Updated Sunday, Nov. 23, 12:26 p.m. EST: A 12-year-old boy holding a toy gun when he was shot by police outside a Cleveland recreation center died early Sunday morning, a police-union official confirmed for Cleveland.com.

The youth, whose name has not been officially released, was shot in the stomach at Cudell Recreation Center, at Detroit Avenue and West Boulevard, about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Earlier:

In a scene that echoes scores of encounters between black males and police across the nation, the New York Times is reporting that a Cleveland officer shot and wounded a 12-year-old boy who was carrying a fake gun.

The incident occurred Saturday outside a recreation center after witnesses allege the youth had brandished a gun on a playground, authorities told the Times.

Advertisement

Two police officers responded to the scene and ordered the youth to raise his hands, but he refused and reached for a gun in his waistband, the Cleveland Division of Police said in a statement. An officer fired two shots, striking the youth once in the abdomen, police and emergency medical services officials said, according to the Times.

The youth, whose name has not been released because of his age, was taken to a hospital in serious condition and underwent surgery. His mother told a local news station that her son's condition had deteriorated to critical on Saturday night, the report says.

"There was no verbal or no confrontation," Deputy Chief Ed Tomba of the Cleveland Police Department said at an evening press conference, adding that the youth did not threaten the officers or point the weapon at them.

Advertisement

The police reportedly learned that the gun was fake after the shooting, said Jennifer Ciaccia, a spokeswoman for the Division of Police, according to the Times. Investigators recovered a replica gun resembling a semiautomatic pistol, the police said. "It looks really, really real, and it's huge," Ciaccia said.

Following protocol, both police officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave during the investigation, the police said.

The shooting comes as a grand jury weighs evidence in an effort to decide whether to indict Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, who was unarmed.

Advertisement

It also comes just days after New York City Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton called the death of unarmed 28-year-old Akai Gurley, who was shot and killed by a rookie officer last week in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, "a very unfortunate tragedy."

Bratton's statement comes after the death of Eric Garner, the Staten Island, N.Y., father who died this summer after a New York City police officer placed him in a choke hold during an arrest, sparking widespread protests. The incident is still under investigation.

Read more at the New York Times.