“I want justice.” With these three words, Sandra González spoke out against Tempe, Arizona police department responsible for the death of her teenage son Antonio Arce (who some publications have identified as Antonio González).
On Tuesday afternoon, police had an encounter with the teen, who was reportedly trying to break into a truck. Police chased Antonio. When the teen turned around, an officer said he felt threatened, which is when he fired off his gun. Initially, police described Antonio as an “armed adult man,” according to NBC News. As more details have emerged, we’ve learned that that Antonio – who was pronounced dead at the hospital – was 14 and that what he carried was a replica 1911 model airsoft gun and not a real handgun.
In the aftermath, the owner of the truck said the airsoft gun belonged to him and was stored in his truck. “This young man, you know, he didn’t deserve to die for a [airsoft gun] that he took from me,” the man told NBC News. “I would like to tell the family that, you know, the young man shouldn’t have died.”
As the story garners national attention, people are questioning the way the police officer handled the situation. And his family – who spoke out about the young boy’s character – have demanded answers. His mother said she won’t let the officers speak ill of her son. “If they want to tarnish my son, they are wrong,” she told ABC 15 Arizona. “Apart from the fact that they killed him, they want to destroy him. No, I won’t allow it. I want justice.”
The police department, for its part, said it would investigate the matter. In a press release, it said, “As with all officer-involved shootings, we will conduct a thorough investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.”