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Teen With Replica Gun Shot, Killed in Arizona

Police officers say they thought the 14-year-old had a real firearm
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 17, 2019 7:00 PM CST
Stock image.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Police in a Phoenix suburb say a burglary suspect shot to death by an officer was a 14-year-old boy carrying a replica gun, the AP reports. Authorities say officers in the city of Tempe reported a suspect burglarizing a car Tuesday and that he ran away holding what appeared to be a handgun. During the chase, police say he turned toward the officers. One officer perceived that as a threat and shot the boy, who died at a hospital. Police said Wednesday that the teen had a replica 1911 airsoft gun in his possession, which they determined he had taken from the vehicle along with some other items. They say the shooting was captured on the officer's body camera. The name of the teen and the officer who opened fire haven't been released.

But the ABC15 Arizona station interviewed a man and a woman identified as the boy's brother and mother, who said they wanted police to explain what happened. The boy's brother Jason Gonzalez said, "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." Speaking through a Spanish-English interpreter, the teen's mother Sandra Gonzalez said: "If they want to tarnish my son, they are wrong." "Apart from the fact that they killed him, they want to destroy him," she said. "No. I won't allow it, I want justice." The department said it will conduct its investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney's office, as is customary in officer-involved shootings.

(Read more police shooting stories.)

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