Police in Arizona have released dramatic bodycam footage of the moment an officer shot and killed a 14-year-old burglary suspect who had attempted to escape on foot while holding a replica handgun.
The Tempe Police Department officer, known only by his surname, Jaen, was responding to reports of a burglarized car in an alleyway of the Phoenix suburb on Tuesday when he encountered the teen. The family identified him as Antonio Arce.
Footage released by the Tempe Police Department on Friday and obtained by the Arizona Republic captures the lead-up to the shooting.
WARNING: Graphic Content
It shows Officer Jaen encountering a grey pick-up truck, taking cover behind a trash can after noticing Arce was still present in the vehicle. After Jaen shouts “hey” to the suspect, Arce flees holding what authorities said appears to be a handgun.
As Arce approaches the end of the alley, Jaen fires two shots, hitting the teenager once in the shoulder while the second shot hits a wall at the end of the alley.
“He’s got a handgun,” Jaen is heard saying on his radio as he continues his pursuit.
Police said Arce fell in the end of the alley.
Speaking on the incident, Chief of Tempe Police Sylvia Moir said Arce had a replica gun and other stolen items.
Officer Jaen was placed on administrative leave pending criminal and internal investigations.
Questions around the shooting have focused on the distance at which the teenager was shot by Jaen and the risk he posed while fleeing.
Speaking on behalf of the family of the deceased, attorney Danny Ortega said: “It was a long distance. How this young man could have presented a threat at that far a distance is a question that needs to be asked.”
Calling the shooting “completely inexcusable,” one Twitter user involved in organizing protests against the killing wrote: “Arizona police have already started killing this year. And this time, it was a child. A child who was running away, and was holding a toy gun, in the middle of the day, when there weren’t any shadows to hide anything.”
Arizona police have already started killing this year. And this time, it was a child. A child who was running away, and was holding a toy gun, in the middle of the day, when there weren’t any shadows to hide anything. This is completely inexcusable. https://t.co/6JeXkgbCnW
— violet (@tetrasocialist) January 17, 2019
However, others have called out the deceased for not responding to the officer’s calls to desist and for carrying what looked to be a weapon while he fled.
For the idiots who think running away is not a threat, that may be true, UNLESS the suspect has a visible weapon in hand like a gun. If the perp runs and uses that weapon on a cop or civilian, it’s law enforcement’s neglect of duty. You must neutralize the threat!
— The Real Phoenix (@wearephxsuns2) January 19, 2019
Not getting shot is a fairly easy thing to do. If an officer tells you to put your hands up, do it,. If you’re carrying something that looks like a gun, drop it. If you don’t want to be confronted by an officer, stop breaking the law.
— Catch 22 (@TLQ_me) January 19, 2019
Meanwhile, police have called for calm while the investigation takes place.
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