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Tempe police show media new body camera footage in shooting death of 14-year-old

Posted at 10:06 AM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 08:11:21-05

TEMPE, AZ — Tempe police have shown new body camera footage that shows the moments after a 14-year-old burglary suspect was shot and killed earlier this month as he ran from an officer.

Officials held a meeting Wednesday morning with Valley media outlets to show video from the deadly shooting in an effort to clear speculation about what happened.

ABC15 reporters who saw the footage, which will not be released to the public, say it shows the responding officer approaching Antonio Arce's body on the ground after he had been shot. A replica model airsoft gun can reportedly be seen underneath Arce's right arm.

The video appears to show Arce's body laying on the ground for about four minutes before others officers arrive. In some of the other officers' body camera videos, you can also see the orange-tipped gun near Arce's body.

Arce was shot and killed January 15 by an officer who chased him in an alley after responding to reports of a vehicle burglary.

RELATED: Owner of truck Antonio Arce was allegedly burglarizing before Tempe PD shooting speaks out

Police say Officer Joseph Jaen "perceived a threat" and fired his gun, striking the boy. Arce was holding a weapon, which was later determined to be a replica airsoft gun.

Tempe police say there had been some chatter about the gun found beneath the victim being placed there by the officers involved. Police are hoping that showing the videos from the arrival on scene to when Arce was taken to the hospital will help clear up the speculation.

“The video was not released immediately out of respect for the family, as well as the early nature of the investigation,” police said in a statement.

“We hope any claims of evidence tampering will be distinguished,” they said about the media viewing of the video on Wednesday.

The portion of body camera video released shows the officer taking cover behind a trash can while watching Arce inside a truck in an alleyway. Arce then exits the vehicle and is seen running away from the officer before the officer fired two shots at him.

The Arce family had been set to hold their own press conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday to give a statement about their son's death, but has since canceled. ABC15 has learned the family was invited to also see the body camera footage following the media showing Wednesday morning.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"Everything I have witnessed demonstrates that the Tempe Police Department has been transparent and honest in the days since the tragic death of Antonio Arce. In my view, they appropriately released body camera footage quickly, within days of the incident. What Tempe Police offered today was another measure of transparency, by showing media the entire rest of the video, in order to help reporters accurately report the details of this incident. I understand that some members of the media take issue with not being able to record the video, but I support today’s decision. We should keep in mind that the remainder of the video shows the last moments of a young person’s life and that it is graphic and disturbing in nature. As Mayor, I cannot legally intervene into active investigations or decide when or if evidence becomes publicly available. To continue the commitment to transparency, I will support the release of information when and if it is appropriate. We should continue to focus our thoughts on the Arce family as they grieve Antonio’s loss and continue to withhold our judgment until investigations are concluded. I have faith in the diligent work of the Tempe Police Department in investigating this incident thoroughly, rapidly and openly."