Cleveland Cop in Toy Gun Killing Resigned From Previous Job After 'Dismal' Handgun Performance, According to Files

PHOTO: Tamir Rice, 12, was fatally shot by police in Cleveland after brandishing what turned out to be a replica gun, triggering an investigation into his death and a legislators call for such weapons to be brightly colored or bear special markings.
PlayCourtesy Richardson & Kucharski Co., L.P.A./AP Photo
WATCH Cleveland Officer Had Been Deemed Unfit to Handle Firearm

The Cleveland police officer under investigation for the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy last month resigned from his previous job as a police officer after his superiors determined he had emotional maturity issues, an inability to manage stress and “dismal” performance in firearms training, according to a 2012 personnel file made public Wednesday.

Officer Tim Loehmann, who shot and killed Tamir Rice Nov. 22 outside a Cleveland recreation center, spent five months in 2012 working for the police department in Independence, Ohio, a suburb south of Cleveland. His brief tenure there was marked by a host of troubling performance deficiencies that culminated in a recommendation that his employment be terminated, according to the records released by the city of Independence in response to public records requests.

ABC News has been unable to reach Loehmann and it’s unclear whether he has retained an attorney. The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association has not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.

In a letter dated Nov. 29, 2012, Independence Police Deputy Chief Jim Polak described Loehmann as “distracted and weepy” during a firearms qualification course the previous day. “He could not follow simple directions, could not communicate clear thoughts nor recollections, and his handgun performance was dismal,” Polak wrote in the letter to the city’s human resources director. “I am recommending he be released” from employment.

“I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies,” he wrote.

According to another report contained in the file, written by a police sergeant who supervised Loehmann, the young recruit attributed his problems to a breakup with his girlfriend. “He stated that his girlfriend broke up with him and he cried every morning for four months,” according to the documents.

After being informed that he was facing termination, Loehmann submitted his resignation a few days later, citing “personal reasons” for his departure, according to the documents.

Fifteen months later, in March of this year, Loehmann was hired by the Cleveland Police Department. A spokesperson for the department acknowledged in a written statement Wednesday that Cleveland Police detectives did not review Loehmann’s Independence Police Department personnel file during a background check.

“Cleveland Police detectives, assigned to the personnel unit, interviewed the Human Resources Director for the City of Independence,” Cleveland Police Sgt. Ali Pillow wrote. “During that interview detectives inquired if there were any disciplinary actions or incidents that Cleveland Police should be aware of prior to hiring Loehmann , at which point they were told there were none. Officer Loehmann indicated that he resigned for personal reasons which was substantiated by the City of Independence.”

The Cleveland police statement also noted the department has now amended its policies to request a personnel file from previous employers.

Loehmann had been on a brief administrative leave after the shooting last month. He is now out with an unspecified injury.

On the day of the shooting, he had been dispatched in response to a 911 call reporting someone waving a gun around in the park outside the recreation center. Though the caller mentioned the possibility that the person may be a juvenile and the gun could be fake, that information was apparently not relayed to Loehmann and his partner.

Video of the incident appears to show Rice waving around what appears to be a handgun. When the police vehicle arrives, the video appears to show Officer Loehmann exiting the passenger side while the car was still in motion and shooting Rice less than two seconds later. The police department has said that Rice was reaching for what appeared to be a weapon tucked in his waistband as the car approached.

The gun was later determined to be a fake.

Loehmann’s father, a veteran law enforcement officer, this week told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that his son was in shock over the shooting, but given the circumstances, had no choice but to shoot.