Tempe Police to Re-Interview Witnesses in Fatal Police Shooting of 14-Year-Old Boy With Airsoft Gun

Police in a Phoenix suburb say they’ll re-interview witnesses and victims in the fatal shooting of a teenage boy by an officer investigating a vehicle break-in.

The statement Monday comes after the truck owner told the Arizona Republic that the police description of what happened Jan. 15 isn’t accurate.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir has said Antonio Arce, 14, was carrying a replica handgun he stole from the truck when he was shot running through an alley. She said two independent witnesses reporting seeing him with a firearm in his hand.

Community members gather for a vigil on Jan. 19, 2019, in honor of Antonio Arce, a 14-year-old boy fatally shot by police four days before in Tempe, Arizona. (Credit: KPHO via CNN)

Community members gather for a vigil on Jan. 19, 2019, in honor of Antonio Arce, a 14-year-old boy fatally shot by police four days before in Tempe, Arizona. (Credit: KPHO via CNN)

But the truck’s owner, Lou Silvas, said neither of the two replica guns in his truck had been disturbed when he checked after he heard two gunshots in the alley nearby. Silvas told the Arizona Republic the only thing missing from his truck was his large, black cellphone.

“If they’re announcing on the airwaves that (the airsoft gun) was taken from my vehicle, that’s not true,” Silvas told the newspaper. “Because I had my two still there, and that’s all I’m saying.”

Police spokesman Ronald Elcock said Monday that some statements in the newspaper are in direct conflict with body camera footage, evidence and statements given to detectives the day of the shooting.

Police said the newspaper’s article leaves open the question about how a replica handgun was found beneath Arce, as shown in body camera videos, which have no gaps in footage.

“To remedy discrepancies reported to media surrounding this incident, we anticipate that we will re-interview witnesses and victims to ensure that the most accurate information is included in the investigation,” Elcock wrote in a news release.

The officer who shot Arce has been identified only by last name, Jaen, and authorities say the officer has been in law enforcement for 17 years but is now on administrative leave.

Arce was shot in the rear shoulder blade and later died at a hospital. His family members have called for justice.

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