Police: Man painted handgun red to resemble toy

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Southwest Ohio authorities said Friday they arrested a man with a loaded handgun painted red to resemble a toy.

The arrest came just four days after legislation was introduced in the state to require that lookalike guns be brightly colored or otherwise marked. Ohio lawmakers took up the bill following two police fatal shootings of young people carrying lookalike guns in recent months.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil said it’s “a scary thought” that guns would be painted to mislead police.

Police responding to a call about a man with a gun said they found Orlando Lowery, 23, with a .380-caliber handgun painted red and 9 grams of cocaine. No attorney was listed for Lowery, who was jailed on a concealed weapons charge and a drug count.

The bill, introduced Monday by Rep. Alicia Reece, would require all BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns stand out in color or have prominent fluorescent strips. The Cincinnati Democrat named the bill after 22-year-old John Crawford III, who was carrying an air rifle this summer in a suburban Dayton Wal-Mart store when he was fatally shot by police. Police said they thought Crawford had an assault rifle. Last month, a 12-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun in Cleveland was fatally shot by police.

The legislation was modeled after a California law. Several other states and cities have similar laws.

Some opponents of the bill have expressed skepticism about whether such measures would be effective in preventing fatal shootings, and some have suggested that criminals would try to disguise weapons to cause police to hesitate.

The sheriff said his office wouldn’t get into the debate over the bill, but would provide some facts about the arrest.

“And the fact is right here in Hamilton County, we arrested a dangerous individual who we believe purposefully painted a loaded handgun red to mislead law enforcement into thinking this was a toy gun,” Neil said in statement.


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CLEVELAND (Reuters) – The death of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police in November has been formally ruled a homicide, according to a county autopsy report released on Friday that found he was struck once in the abdomen.
Tamir Rice, who was black, was shot on Nov. 22 by a white police officer responding to a call of a suspect waving a handgun around in a Cleveland park. The weapon turned out to be a replica that typically fires plastic pellets. The sixth-grader died the next day.

by TATS-2-MIN-NEWS

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report said Rice sustained a single wound to the left side of his abdomen that traveled from front to back and lodged in his pelvis.

The shooting came at a time of heightened national scrutiny of police use of force and two days before a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Rice was shot less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside him in the park, police have said. They also released a security video of Rice in the park before and during the shooting.

Rice was 5 feet 7 inches tall and 195 pounds, according to the autopsy report.
Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice, said on Monday the officers involved should be convicted. The family filed a lawsuit last week against the city of Cleveland and the two officers involved in Rice’s shooting, who are on administrative leave.

The officer who shot Rice, Timothy Loehmann, had been on the Cleveland force for less than a year. A second officer, Frank Garmback, was driving the car. Both officers are white.

A grand jury investigates all police shootings in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.

The shooting of Rice, and grand jury decisions not to indict officers in the deaths of Brown or a black man who was put in a chokehold during an arrest in New York, have driven protests over the police use of force in the United States.

Cleveland’s police force has been under a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, which found in a report released on Dec. 4 that the department systematically engages in excessive use of force.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Susan Heavey)

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