Tempe police show reporters more bodycam footage in fatal shooting of boy with airsoft gun

/ CBS/AP

Arizona cop fatally shoots teen

Tempe, Arizona — A suburban Phoenix police department on Wednesday played new body camera footage showing that a 14-year-old boy had a fake gun when he was fatally shot running away from a police officer. Police in Tempe, Arizona previously released a video of the Jan. 15 incident, but showed reporters the additional video in an effort to tamp down a perception that the boy may not have had a weapon when he was shot.

The family of Antonio Arce told the Arizona Republic the boy posed no threat to the officer when he was shot from at least 114 feet away.

The new video, which is not being publicly released, showed Arce with an orange-tipped airsoft gun underneath his arm as an officer approached him after he was shot. The initial video did not show the airsoft gun, and speculation had swirled that it may have been planted, reports CBS affiliate KPHO. Tempe Police showed the new video to a group of media outlets including KPHO. They barred any cameras or recording devices.

Antonio Arce KPHO

The police effort comes after the owner of a truck where the teen was seen before being shot initially claimed no weapons were stolen. He later said he wasn't sure whether guns were taken. Police said Arce had a replica 1911 airsoft gun in his possession, which they say he took from the vehicle along with other items.

Tempe police say they were responding to a call of a possible vehicle burglary when Officer Joseph Jaen saw Arce inside the pickup truck. Video shows the boy exiting the truck and running away, and Jaen chasing after him. Jaen yelled "let me see your hands" and seconds later, shot twice at the fleeing boy, striking him once in the upper back. The boy continued to run but collapsed on a street just outside the alleyway.

Police officials said Jaen fired because he perceived a threat. But the boy's family says the video doesn't depict that. Arce does not appear to turn around or raise the gun in the initial video.

"When I saw the video, I thought, 'Look, it couldn't be clearer.' My son didn't even turn around," the boy's father, Juan Antonio Arce, told the Arizona Republic.

The boy's family told the paper that Arce was a typical teenage boy who liked to go to the gym and dreamed of becoming a lawyer. They said they didn't believe the police narrative painting the 14-year-old as a criminal.

"He ran away like he was scared," the boy's mother, Sandra Gonzalez, told the paper. "That was the only thing he did."

Arce's brother, Jason Gonzalez, told KNXV-TV he wanted police to explain what happened.

"A police officer has a Taser gun right? Why not shoot a Taser at him?" he said. "He sees a young boy, my brother wouldn't shoot. I know he wouldn't shoot."

The shooting has prompted outrage, and about 100 people protested outside the Tempe Police headquarters days after the shooting, KPHO reported.

The family has retained an attorney and had planned to speak during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, but cancelled at the last minute, saying the family hadn't yet reviewed the footage reporters were shown.

The initial video ends as the officer is running towards Arce. The video shown to reporters Wednesday shows the aftermath of the shooting. It shows Jaen, who was alone, standing behind a concrete wall as he commands Arce to drop his weapon. Arce is unresponsive, except for a quick moment in which he lifts his head up.

Several minutes pass as the frantic Jaen, who curses as he waits for backup, keeps a distance. About two and a half minutes after he shot the boy, Jaen says, "It looks like he's not breathing anymore."

Still behind the wall, he then yells to Arce, "Partner, I need you to get your hands out so we can get you some help," according to KPHO.

About five minutes after the shooting, two other officers who arrived on scene approach Arce's body, turning him over and handcuffing him before they begin chest compressions. In the bodycam video of one of those officers, the airsoft gun can be seen tucked under Arce's arm, reports KPHO.

Jaen becomes emotional and cries, according to the station.

"It's just a (expletive) kid," Jaen says. "It's a (expletive) toy gun, man. What the (expletive)?"

Jaen is winded and in disbelief as he's ushered back to his car. He mutes the audio around nine and a half minutes into his video, a little more than eight minutes after he shot Arce, KPHO reports.

Jaen never approaches Arce, the station reports. Fire and medical personnel arrive, and Arce is taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The officer is a 17-year police veteran who also fought in Iraq, CBS News' Jamie Yuccas reports. He is on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Speaking after the shooting, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir expressed her condolences to the teen's family.

"We remain committed committed to being open, honest and empathetic through this traumatic and trying event," Moir said.

Lt. Mike Hayes said Wednesday the department decided to show the videos to reporters to address a misconception that the boy was never holding the fake gun. But police didn't answer questions about police protocol and when it would be justifiable to shoot a suspect who is running away.

Hayes said he understood the "angst" surrounding the calls for the release of the video, reports KPHO, but said that it wasn't possible to release the graphic, unedited content because public opinion could be swayed in an ongoing investigation.

Hayes said the department wanted to set the record straight by showing the media what happened.

"We're doing this as a courtesy," Hayes said. "Doing the public a courtesy."

Wednesday, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said in a statement the department has "been transparent and honest in the days since the tragic death of Antonio Arce."

"What Tempe police offered today was another measure of transparency," Mitchell said.

First published on January 31, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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