14-Year-Old Antonio Arce Shot Dead by Police in Arizona

On Wednesday, January 23, police in Tempe, Arizona, responded to reports of a vehicle being burglarized in a residential neighborhood. When officers arrived at the scene, the suspect left the truck and began to run. At least one officer pursued him while giving verbal commands before opening fire.

Officers administered CPR to the suspect before taking him to a nearby hospital where he ultimately died.

The alleged burglar turned out to be a 14-year-old Latino boy named Antonio Arce. Although police officials in Tempe confirmed that the officer involved in the shooting was wearing a body camera, the footage has yet to be released. The officer’s name has also not been made public.

Details about the shooting are still sparse, though the officer involved reportedly claimed feeling threatened. Arce was discovered with an airsoft replica of a 1911 pistol near his body, allegedly taken from the truck. It’s possible that this factored into the officer’s decision to open fire.

To avoid incidents like this, federal law requires airsoft guns in every state to have a bright orange tip on the barrel.

It’s difficult to not see parallels between this incident and the death of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old shot to death by police in Ohio while playing in a park with an airsoft gun.

A day after the shooting, a group of at least 100 protesters gathered outside the Tempe Police Department station, among them Arce’s parents. His mother, Sandra Gonzalez, accused the department of racism, saying “they treat us like criminals.”

Arce’s older brother, Jason Gonzalez, addressed the crowd, demanding the release of the body camera footage, as well as access to his brother’s body. Gonzalez also said his family wants an independent autopsy performed without police involvement.

As of writing, authorities have not allowed the family to view Antonio’s remains.

A spokesperson for Tempe Police Department says that they will cooperate with the county attorney to conduct a “thorough investigation” of the shooting.

In a statement to the family, the owner of the vehicle allegedly burglarized by Arce said he regrets the events transpired and added that he wants Arce’s family to know that the young man shouldn’t have died.

Antonio Arce’s death is the latest to result from an officer-involved shooting in the Phoenix-area, which includes Tempe, Mesa and Glendale. Though the following statistics are not officially reported to the public by local law enforcement, there were at least 80 such deaths in 2018 — an enormous jump from the previous two years, which each saw fewer than 50.

Sadly, Antonio’s death already marks the fourth officer-involved shooting of 2019, keeping pace with 2018.

Take Action!

The general lack of transparency from the Tempe Police Department, as well as the fact that the body camera footage has not been released and Arce’s body has been withheld from his family, suggests authorities are aware that a wrongdoing has occurred.

It’s crucial that Antonio Arce’s family be granted justice. Add your name to this Care2 petition to call on the Tempe Police Department to cease withholding the Arce’s body and the body camera footage! Demand a fully transparent, just investigation!

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!

 

Photo Credit: ep_jhu/Flickr

48 comments

Helen C
Helen C2 months ago

heartbreaking.......signed

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Kayla C
Kayla Cote2 months ago

Absolutely heartbreaking...petition signed. Thank you for sharing.

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Chad Anderson
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you.

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D2 months ago

Two wrongs never make anything right.

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago

All toy guns need to look like toys.

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago

Petition signed # 182

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Lesa D
Lesa D2 months ago

unbelievable...

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Lesa D
Lesa D2 months ago

#177 petition signed...

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Lesa D
Lesa D2 months ago

thank you Llowell...

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