A 14-year-old boy was killed by police who believed he was carrying a gun during a suspected car burglary.
On Tuesday, Tempe police in Arizona shot and killed the teen because they believed he was burglarizing a car, reported ABC15. The suspect stepped out of the car on the passenger side and ran away holding what appeared to be a gun, with the officer chasing him and giving verbal commands to stop.
“The suspect turned toward the officer, at which point the officer perceived a threat and fired his service weapon at the suspect,” Tempe Police Sgt. Ron Elcock told reporters, according to ABC7.
Officers found the teen in an alley and performed CPR. He died at the hospital.
The Tempe Police Department did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. “As with all officer-involved shootings, we will conduct a thorough investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office,” officers said, according to Newsweek.
Retired police officer Kevin Boontjer told CBS News that the police officer couldn’t have known the gun was fake.
“It is impossible to train someone on what is a real weapon and a fake weapon. It’s just impossible,” he said. “Let’s say that the gun did have the orange tip on it. You’re running, your vision is bouncing, you can’t keep normal vision as you’re running, and you’re trying to, again, assess a hundred different pieces of information as you’re running. And when we train these officers for these lethal force situations, we can’t teach them to look at something so microscopic as an orange dot that is bouncing around, that could be facing away from them as the suspect is running away.”
The slain teen’s mother, Sandra Gonzalez, was angry. “If they want to tarnish my son, they are wrong. Apart from the fact that they killed him, they want to destroy him. No. I won’t allow it, I want justice,” she said, according to ABC15.
His brother, Jason Gonzalez, told ABC15, “I just know he’s doing better, in a better place now. A police officer has a Taser gun, right? Why not shoot a Taser at him? He sees a young boy… My brother wouldn’t shoot. I know he wouldn’t shoot.”
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