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Tempe police officer Joseph Jaen, who shot and killed 14-year-old, resigns

Posted at 2:50 PM, May 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 10:20:35-04

TEMPE, AZ — The Tempe police officer who shot and killed a teenager who appeared to be running away from him has resigned from the department.

In a statement released Monday, the department says Chief Silvia Moir met with Officer Joseph Jaen and accepted his resignation, which will take effect immediately.

Jaen shot and killed 14-year-old Antonio Arce on January 15 after the teen ran as Jaen was responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle.

Police later said Arce was found down an alleyway and around the corner with a replica airsoft pistol.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office has not yet determined whether Jaen's actions were justified, and the department said its administrative investigation was also not complete.

A statement from Tempe police says the resignation "is independent from the criminal review and administrative investigation."

A direct reason for the resignation was not mentioned.

"It leads to a lot of speculation, nobody really knows at this point why it is he resigned," said Arce family attorney Danny Ortega. "All we know is the video is very clear, this was an unjustified shooting of a young man."

The office of Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell provided ABC15 with the following statement:

I have been informed today of the resignation of Officer Jaen. The City Council and I continue to refrain from passing judgment on the Jan. 15 officer-involved shooting of Antonio Arce while we await the conclusion of the Tempe Police administrative investigation as well as the Maricopa County Attorney’s decision on criminal charges. As I have expressed, inserting any political influence at this stage would be wrong. I continue to hold the Arce family and Officer Jaen and his family in my thoughts.

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Police say more details will be available once those reviews are complete.

"He may not have to deal with potential discipline with the police department, but he's gonna have to deal with a civil lawsuit and if he's charged he's gonna have to deal with criminal charges," Ortega said.