The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Arizona officer kills teen carrying airsoft gun

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 1/18/19, 11:45 am

An officer in Tempe, Ariz., on Tuesday fatally shot a 14-year-old boy suspected of burglary and carrying a replica gun, police said. Officers reported a suspect burglarizing a car and running away with what appeared to be a handgun. Police said he turned toward officers during the chase, and one officer perceived a threat and shot the suspect. The boy died at a hospital. Authorities have not identified the teen or the officer who shot him. The boy carried a replica 1911 airsoft gun, which police determined he took from the vehicle. Authorities said the officer’s body camera captured the shooting, but they have not released the footage.

The mother of the teen told KNXV-TV the department was trying to tarnish her son’s reputation. “Apart from the fact that they killed him, they want to destroy him,” Sandra Gonzalez said. “No. I won’t allow it, I want justice.” Gonzalez joined about 100 protesters outside the offices of the Tempe Police Department on Thursday to demand access to the body camera footage. The department said it will conduct an investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. Follow Rachel on Twitter @Rachel_Lynn_A.

Read more from this writer


  • news2me
    Posted: Fri, 01/18/2019 05:54 pm

    I feel bad for the family, but I have questions too.

    Is he an illegal? His mother doesn't speak English. 

    Sorry, but I grew up in Miami where you would have a better chance of getting a job if you spoke Spanish.

    The officer that perceived a threat did not have time to determine if the gun being carried by the teen was a deadly weapon. The teen isn't too young to shoot someone. If the teen had shot the officer his neighborhood would have celebrated. He would have been praised on line. The officer is also someone's son, brother, possibly husband and father. Why is it ok for someone to shoot the officer? And the 14 yr old would probably not have gotten life for killing an officer. 

    There are too many people out there who are gunning for officers. I'm glad they wear a body cam.


  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 01/18/2019 10:59 pm

    I know if I’m in a confrontation with someone who brandishes a gun, I won’t be hesitating to see if it’s real, and to see if the person really shoots at me.

    If someone does not heed a police officer’s commands to stop, to raise their hands, to drop what they’re holding—or whatever—and brandishes something that might be a firearm, should being killed by that officer surprise anyone?

    Of those on the streets protesting an officer shooting a criminal, I would take a wild guess that the majority are liberals who believe in evolution. Why have they not considered how stupid it is to defy and threaten an armed police officer?  Why have they not considered that level of stupidity is what would have greatly increased their distant ancestors’ likelihood of being killed by a saber-tooth tiger?  And why do they not realize such things, according to the theory of evolution, are just natural selection, a part of the process that, over time, makes a species stronger, smarter, more able to survive. 

    If they’re going to teach that we arrived at this point in history through evolution, they should be willing to accept the results of evolution in action. 

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Thu, 01/24/2019 10:07 am

    One of the responsibilities of parenting is teaching your children how to handle themselves around police officers. First, you should always show respect to police officers because they represent the law which God ordained in His wisdom. They play the role of protecting us and keeping the bad guys off the streets which is a very dangerous job. Second, police have to protect themselves and they don’t know if you are a bad or good guy. Never point a real or fake gun at a police officer - even jokingly - because they may think you are a threat and shoot you. Never rapidly lift your hands towards the police officer because again he may think you have a gun and shoot you. Recognize that anything that looks like a weapon could be viewed to be a threat so move slowly, keep your hands visible, and follow the officers instructions carefully. When you are pulled over, keep your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them as he approaches. Don’t be moving around looking for insurance or your wallet as he approaches because the officer could think you are getting a gun. When the officer comes up to the window, he will ask for your ID so tell him him what you will do. For example you may say the following, “My wallet is on the seat so let me get it.” Another example, “My insurance is in the glove compartment - please let me get it.” If you teach your kids these things, then they will likely be smart enough to not get shot by a police officer even if they are doing something against the law. Possibly, talking to your local police officer could give you more pointers. Sadly, this woman never taught her kid how to handle himself around police officers.  Had she talked to him, he might have had the smarts to get rid of the gun knowing that it could incite a lethal response by the police. 

  • Sam C
    Posted: Sun, 02/03/2019 04:52 pm

    In case you are curious about the officer's legal standing:

    the kid was was burgling a vehicle with (what appeared to be) a deadly weapon, which is burglary in the first degree; a felony:

    If a felon is fleeing and using deadly force, or what a reasonable person would believe to be deadly force, an officer is legally permitted use deadly force, especially if the felon poses a threat a third party (such as residents in the neighborhood).

    Though this incident is tragic, this is a legally justified shooting, not murder as many (terribly misinformed people) claim it to be.