Police in the US state of Ohio face an enquiry after a young boy was shot and killed by officers for carrying a replica gun in a playground.

Police say that that an officer fired two shots at 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a Cleveland playground after he failed to raise his hands and surrender his weapon when ordered on Saturday afternoon.

The boy is not reported to have made any verbal threats or point the gun towards the police officers, but officers said that he was shot as he took the toy gun from the waistband of his trousers.

Cleveland Police described the toy gun and an “airsoft” replica that was made to look like a semi-automatic pistol, and said that the orange safety indicator had been removed so they did not know the gun was not real.

A recording of the man that made the 911 emergency call to report the boy with a gun, described the firearm as “probably a fake”, but his comments were not passed on to the responding officers.

Rice died from his wounds on early Sunday morning and both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave as the incident is investigated.

The boy’s death is the latest in a series of fatal shootings by US police, with a grand jury due to to decide whether to indict a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, for the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Brown’s death and the fierce police crackdown on the protests that followed highlighted the increasingly violent and militaristic methods utilised by some US police forces.

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