CHANDLER, AZ — An Arizona family is healing through art and using a mural to spread their message to the community and police.
The mural located near Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard was unveiled formally Tuesday, more than one year after 17-year-old Anthony Cano was shot and killed by a Chandler police officer.
This comes months after the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, under County Attorney Rachel Mitchell's leadership, decided not to file charges against the officer.
The Cano family says Anthony should still be here, smiling at loved ones in person.
Though they say they take comfort in knowing, with this mural, more people will know his story and his legacy will live on.
“He should be here,” said Eva Cano, Anthony’s aunt.
Eva says she misses her beloved nephew, Anthony, every day.
“You always think it’s going to get easier, but no…it doesn’t.”
She says Anthony was a light, always smiling.
“He was a very good kid. He hadn’t even finished high school,” Eva told ABC15, in tears.
Chandler police shot Cano on January 2, 2021, after police say the 17-year-old failed to stop when officer Chase Beback-Miller flagged him for riding a bicycle without a front headlight.
Cano was taken to the hospital for his injuries after the shooting and he died three weeks later.
“He wasn’t the kid out committing crimes,” said Anthony’s aunt.
Body camera footage shows Cano had a gun as he ran away, but it never shows him turn toward the officer chasing him.
When the teen was shot the first time in the back, he was tossing the gun.
“He didn’t have a chance,” said Eva.
When the second shot was fired, body camera video shows the teen was face down.
The weapon, at the time, was more than 10 yards away.
Officer Bebak-Miller’s dad was on a ride-along with him the night he shot Cano, and Officer Bebak-Miller failed to fill out the required ”Citizen Observer Waiver of Liability” paperwork.
While the county will not be filing charges, an internal investigation is ongoing with the Chandler Police Department for this violation.
“It’s still not fair. It’s still not fair to me,” Anthony’s aunt told ABC15.
The family is now healing through art and sending out a direct message with it.
“This mural represents not only his loss, but the story that he was not deserving of what happened. And not only that. The message of police taking lives with no repercussions is not fair, and we’re not going to keep quiet about it,” she added.
Eva says the piece was created in Chandler by AJ Larson and took about three weeks to finish.
“He chose Anthony just because of the story. He said it kind of sat with him,” she said.
On the left side, you see a tribute to Anthony, showing the teen smiling.
On the right side, you see a Chandler police officer pointing a gun down at Cano, who is on the ground. Crime scene tape and two evidence markers can also be seen.
Those evidence markers are indicative of the shell casings being marked after two shots were fired, hitting Cano.
There is also a message, Anthony’s mother wrote, after MCAO announced no charges would be filed against the Chandler officer.
“Do good despite the unfairness the world has to offer. Do what is right, even when the world does you wrong. Be good and succeed, despite where you grew up and who is trying to hold you down. Show the world you were put here for a reason. Anthony changed many lives just by being a part of those lives. Take that spirit and drive that Anthony had and change the world. Anthony believed in you and so do I.”
A sign reading “LLC” could be seen (among others). LLC stands for Long Live Cano.
“I think Anthony would be excited, you know that he’s not…not forgotten,” said Eva.
A community gathering followed the formal unveiling of the mural.
Anthony’s extended family and AJ Larson were in attendance.
ABC15 reached out to the Chandler police asking about the department’s thoughts on the mural. We are waiting for their response.