This photo provided by Jason Gonzalez shows a selfie of Antonio Arce. On Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019, police say officers reported seeing Arce burglarizing a car and he ran away holding what appeared to be a handgun. During the chase, police say he turned toward the officers and one of them fired on him. He died at a hospital. The gun turned out to be an airsoft gun that police say was taken from the car. (Photo courtesy of Jason Gonzalez via AP)

Arizona police chief: Withhold judgment in death of teen

January 18, 2019 - 7:27 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A suburban Phoenix police chief offered her condolences Friday to the family of a 14-year-old burglary suspect who was shot and killed by an officer, calling the boy's death "tragic" but asking the public to withhold judgment until an investigation is completed.

Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir said she called the news conference to be transparent.

"I must begin with expressing my condolences to the young man's family. The loss of his life is tragic," Moir said. "I am very sorry for their loss."

The boy, identified by his family as Antonio Arce, was carrying a replica handgun when he was shot Tuesday by a Tempe officer identified only as Officer Jaen, who arrived on the scene in uniform in a marked patrol car.

Moir was flanked on one side by six enlarged still photographs, several of them pulled from the officer's body-worn video camera.

The chief said Jaen has been an officer for 17 years — 14 of them with Tempe. He was placed on administrative leave.

The department said it will conduct its investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney's office, as is customary in officer-involved shootings.

Tempe Police said in an earlier report its officer chased the teen Tuesday after he was encountered burglarizing a car. A police spokesman said an officer perceived a threat and shot the youth, who later died at a hospital.

Police said Wednesday the teen was carrying a replica airsoft gun, which they determined was taken from the vehicle with other items.

Arce's Facebook page shows photographs of a baby-faced boy with a peach-fuzz mustache and a few images with relatives and friends. Friends of the family were putting together a GoFundMe page to pay for the teen's funeral costs.

A vigil was held Thursday outside the Tempe Police headquarters.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been at least one other police shooting that killed a teen in Maricopa County, Arizona's largest.

Earlier this month, a Phoenix police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old Jacob Michael Harris after surveillance officers reportedly saw him and three others carry out an armed robbery. Police say they were watching the group because they were suspects in several other robberies.

Also this month, an officer in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria shot and wounded a 17-year-old boy after getting a call about a robbery at an auto supply store. Officers said the boy had a gun. He was shot in the shoulder.

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