The boy, identified by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office as Tamir Rice, died at MetroHealth Medical Center after he was taken there for surgery Saturday afternoon, according to the medical examiner.
Officers were called to the Cudell Recreation Center after receiving reports of the boy waving a gun and pointing it at people, the Cleveland Division of Police said in a statement.
Two officers found Rice in the playground and ordered him to raise his hands, but he instead reached for what the officers thought was a gun in his waistband, police said.
The officers fired twice, hitting the boy in the torso.
Officers learned the gun was fake after the shooting, police said. Made to resemble a semi-automatic pistol, the orange safety indicator had been removed from the "airsoft" replica gun the boy was holding, police said.
"We are not rushing to judgment," said Timothy Kucharski, an attorney for Rice's mother. "The police are investigating the matter and we are waiting for the result of that investigation."
Kucharski will conduct his own investigation alongside the police investigation, he said. The results of the private investigation will determine whether the Rice family will pursue civil litigation, he said.
"Right now my only goal is to help the family with the grieving process," Kucharski said.
The witness who made the initial 911 call to police told the dispatcher that the boy's gun may not have been real and that he was a juvenile, according to audio released by the Cleveland Police Department on Sunday.
"It's probably fake," the witness said. "But it's scaring ... people."