The police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice told investigators that the boy reached for a gun just before the patrolman opened fire.
"He gave me no choice. He reached for the gun and there was nothing I could do," Cleveland police Officer Timothy Loehmann told a fellow officer in the moments after he shot Tamir at a gazebo outside the a recreation center on Nov. 22.
The officer's words — released Saturday in a 224-page report from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty — mark the first time the Loehmann's account of the shooting was revealed.
The report also notes that Loehmann and his partner each refused to be interviewed by sheriff's investigators.
The report, however, notes the observations of fellow officers, many of whom said Loehmann appeared distraught after the shooting when police learned that Tamir was much younger than first thought and that his gun was actually a BB gun.
One officer said the BB gun appeared to be "1,000%" real.
McGinty said he chose to release the report, which was compiled over four months by county sheriff's deputies, after showing the documents on Friday to the Rice family. He issued a statement saying the release was in the interest of transparency.
The evidence has yet to be presented by prosecutors to a grand jury for consideration of an indictment against Loehmann or his partner.
The sheriff's report notes that their investigation is "unbiased" and that investigation team "has not, and will not, render any opinion of the legality of the officers' action."
The often-redacted documents, however, give the public insight into the Loehmann's mindset when he and fellow Officer Frank Garmback arrived at the gazebo. The officers were called to the area after reports that a man was pointing a gun at people around the rec center.
As Garmback drove off the street and near the gazebo, Loehmann leaped out of the car and within two second fired two shots that struck the boy.
No witnesses in the sheriff's report reported hearing officers issue warnings before shots were fired. Police say Loehmann only shot after his orders were ignored and Tamir reached for his weapon.
As the Tamir was sprawled on the ground next to his BB gun, an FBI agent who happened to the be in the area, stopped and began giving first aid.
Officer Lou Kitko, who talked to Loehmann at the scene, said the rookie officer said, "They arrived on scene, was yelling commands at the kid, they stopped the car, the kid went for the firearm and tried to pull it out."
Kitko was among several Cleveland officers who agreed to be interviewed. Prosecutors refused to provide any immunity, the report noted.
The swiftness of the shooting was noted by Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine, who found probable cause to charge the officers involved in the shooting. Adrine said he was "thunderstruck" after viewing surveillance video of the shooting. A group of Tamir supporters filed papers earlier this week seeking charges against the officers.
Adrine forwarded his conclusions to prosecutors.
The FBI agent spoke to investigators and noted Loehmann's emotions in the minutes after the shooting.
"I think it was a very difficult situation for him to deal with and ... probably now as the adrenaline was wearing off, I think the realization is kicking in that he just had to shoot somebody," the agent said.
The agent recalled the failure of officers to provide first aid to Tamir, who was critically injured in the abdomen. Neither officer had a first aid kit or training.
At one point, Tamir mumbled something about his gun. The boy also took the agent's hand.
"He turned over and acknowledged and looked at me, and he like reached for my hand," he said.
The officers, he added, appeared distraught and helpless.
"It's an incredibly disturbing injury to look at," he said. "And ... you could see the level of concern in (the officers). I don't think they knew what to do."