Tempe Officers Ask Public To Withhold Judgment In Shooting Of Teen

Teen running away from officer in a Tempe alley.

The Tempe Police Department released body cam footage from an officer, who fatally shot a 14-year-old boy in possession of an airsoft gun.

Antonio Arce was inside a truck in an alleyway when the officer comes upon the truck after receiving a report of a suspicious vehicle. The video shows Arce exiting the vehicle and running away from the officer. The video shows the officer chasing Arce and firing his weapon.

The Tempe Officers Association released a statement in support of a “open, cooperative investigations into every police use of force incident.”

The Association called for an investigation “based on facts and taking into account the difficult, demanding nature a police decision-making.” The Association called on the public to “withhold judgment on this matter until the investigation is complete and all the facts are known.”

“What happened on South Fairlane Tuesday afternoon, was a tragedy. The death of a 14-year-old is always tragic no matter the circumstances. Every member of the Tempe Police Officers Association will hold in our hearts and prayers everyone involved in this incident and their families and their loved ones,” read a statement the Association released.

According to the Association, the officer involved is a decorated military veteran who has been a Tempe Police officer for nearly 15 years.


  1. The video released by Tempe police seems to have good clarity, it clearly contains an image of someone inside the truck, but then for magical reasons known only to the Tempe police, the video becomes “grainy” which is explained as a suspect holding a handgun, but at the exact same moment, the officer who’s service weapon is drawn and held in the ready position calmly verbally responds with “hey”, as if attempting to make contact with the truck occupant which is hardly the normal physical and verbal response to an life threatening armed encounter.
    Once again the Tempe police feeling the need to further thier claims of justifying the killing have alleged that the officer “felt threatened” as the 14 yr old child ran away from him holding a toy gun, so the officer shot in self defense, fatally striking the kid in the back as he ran facing away from the officer.
    And once again the video isn’t very supportive nor is it very convincing of thier “artistically interpretive” assertions. But what the video does make clear is just how far we have stumbled as a culture in accepting the lethal abuse of the public in reference to unrestricted police violence. It shows just how far removed from reality policing in Tempe has “advanced” to the point where anyone can be killed for no legitimate reason.
    There was nothing in the truck worth stealing, and there is nothing contained on that video to support the taking of this kids life.
    So while outside of Tempe, only jurors find guilt and judges pass sentence, apparently within Tempe the police multitask and justifiably act as juror, judge and executioner, how convienant.

    The Oracle

  2. I have only one thought when I see this sort of event. What would happen if I (not a cop) did the same thing? This answer of course, is that I would immediately be arrested and never see a day of freedom for the rest of my life.

    So, why are cops held to a much lower standard?

    • They aren’t held to lower standard, see ARS Title 13, particularly 13-405. While you’re at it, look into the dynamics of deadly force encounters, action vs. reaction, etc.. It will likely change your opinion. BTW: We pay these people to do our dirty work. If you and others don’t like the job they do, feel free to submit an application.

  3. All that little thug had to do was drop the weapon like he was ordered to do. I’d also argue that it would be wise to stay out of other people’s vehicles and leave their property alone, but that’s a moot point now.

    • Seriously Jay you should educate yourself a little. Watch the police body cam first and only then should you run your face.
      As seen on the body cam video, the officers patrol vehicle blocks the alley, as the officer approaches the truck he crosses the alley between both vehicles and takes cover behind a large 300gal waste container and is several feet in front of the truck on its drivers side. The officer observes someone moving around inside the truck, the officer draws his weapon pointing themuzzle in a safe direction and at the ready position and says “hey”, (hardly the words used when as claimed by police the office sees the kid holding a gun Vs. immediately drawing down on the suspect and giving firm commands), the kid almost immediately bolts out the passenger side of the truck running down the alley AWAY from the officer. As the kid continues running away from the officer, the officer then yells “let me see your hands”, the officer takes aim, fires twice at the kid as he continues running away from the officer, bullets strik the kid. The officer then calls in to dispatch, the kid disappears off camera, the video ends before the officer reaches the end of the alley and finds the body.
      I agree with you over staying out of other people’s vehicles, but he was never ordered to drop his airsoft 1911 clone.
      But watching the video might present a slightly differant version then you and the Tempe police are peddeling.

      The Oracle

  4. Yes, we should hold off judging until all the facts are in.
    But shouldn’t police hold off judging that someone is worthy of being killed?
    I hold no judgment of this situation, but I’m still ill and horrified at that murder by Mesa police. The poor man was lying on the floor, crying and begging for his life. He posed no threat to any rational observer.
    He was trying to obey mixed and irrational screamed orders.
    At any point, the Mesa officers could have calmly and easily walked over and handcuffed him.
    But they showed they were bullies and cowards and they committed a murder.
    Maybe not first degree, but murder all the same.
    This Tempe episode? I’ll wait to offer my judgment.

  5. 1
    Ok I’ve withheld my judgement long enough.
    Body cameras don’t lie, they don’t take sides, they simply record events, and according to the article it recorded the officer chasing behind Arce while firing his weapon at him.
    I’m having a real hard time with the rational justification of shooting anyone running away from me who doesn’t pose an immediate threat to me or someone else. No one out runs a radio, especially on foot, why this escalated to the lethal use of force and the shooting of this youth is beyond any possible justification outside of a trigger happy public servant.
    In a missed que of knowing when to STFU, it’s sickeningly beyond indefensible that the “unbiased” Tempe Officers Association would call for support of a “open, cooperative investigation into every police use of force incident, based on facts and taking into account the difficult, demanding nature a police decision-making.” and of course after injecting thier two cents, they want the public to “withhold judgment on this matter until the investigation is complete and all the facts are known.”
    For those who need a translation, even fellow officers are questioning the wisdom of murdering this child as he ran away.
    The police are here to protect the citizens, but no one was there to protect 14yr old Antonio Arce from the Tempe police.
    Why is the Tempe police officers association the public spin on this incident and not the Tempe police dept?
    Hold judgement? We need to hold our noses, this stinks…

    The Oracle

    • United States law allows police officers to use lethal force in responding to the commission of a felony if the officer believes that individual poses a threat to others and burglarizing a vehicle is a felony offense. It does not matter whether the suspect is running toward or away from the officer.

      • Seriously David? That’s your default answer, seriously?
        When you get back from your tall tale stretch let’s examine your brilliant legal analysis.
        You are correct in your assertion that burglary is a felony, but your wizardry ends there. Because larceny is not a felony. Burglary occurs in the hours of darkness, burglary requires forced entry. Rummaging through an unlocked truck in an alley hardly constitutes burglary, and can’t be used to cover the mistakes leading up to this kids murder.
        No matter you twisty it, It’s just not a good shoot. Your buddy screwed the pooch pure and simple.

        The Oracle

        • There is nothing in our state burglary statutes that requires that someone “force entry” and/or commit their crime in the “hours of darkness.” Entering an unlocked car IS burglary and those who do so ARE charged with burglary. Check the ARS statutes for 3rd degree burglary. Also, larceny can be a felony depending on the amount stolen.

          Before you try to “school” someone in the future in such a derogatory manner, I suggest you get some facts first.

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