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Officer who killed Tamir Rice resigns days after being hired on new force

July 7 (UPI) -- The former Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 resigned from a new position at a police force in Pennsylvania on Thursday after receiving backlash over his hiring.

Timothy Loehmann quit from the police force in Tioga Borough, Pa., on Thursday morning, two days after being sworn in on a probationary period, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette reported.

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Borough Council President Steve Hazlett confirmed Loehmann's departure and praised members of the public for speaking out against his hiring.

"Their words were heard," he said.

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Loehmann was an officer with the Cleveland Police Department in 2014 when he and a fellow officer responded to a 911 call about a person wielding a pistol that was "probably fake." Within seconds of arriving at the scene, Loehmann fired several shots at Rice, who was playing with a toy gun.

Rice died the next day.

A grand jury declined to press charges against Loehmann for the shooting, but the CPD fired him three years later for lying on his application.

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Loehmann's hiring in Tioga was met with criticism from members of the public who knew of the officer's past in Cleveland.

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The Sun-Gazette said Hazlett and other members of the borough's police committee -- who are in charge of hiring for the police department -- knew of his past but have declined to reveal details of their discussions because they took place during executive session.

The newspaper said city officials initially identified the officer as Timothy Lochmann to the press. Hazlett said his name was inadvertently misspelled.

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When the city posted a photo of Loehmann's swearing in Tuesday, members of the public recognized him from his time in Cleveland and protested his hiring. His lawyer, Henry Hilow, told NBC News that his client didn't want to be a distraction and resigned the post.

Tioga Mayor David Wilcox posted on Facebook that he was unaware who Loehmann was and wasn't directly involving in his hiring.

"This has nothing to do with me. Council hires, fires and background checks. I literally wasn't even allowed to take his resume with me the day they interviewed him," he said.

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