TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Tempe Police Department said on Wednesday the "man" that was shot and later died at the hospital was a 14-year-old boy.

Police also said he had a replica 1911 model airsoft gun, not a real handgun.

Police said the officer was chasing the teen near 48th Street and Baseline on Tuesday afternoon and he turned around and the officer felt threatened so he fired his gun.

"This is unfortunately a situation that the officer is going to have to live with forever. They're going to carry some issues with them now that they know it wasn't a actual firearm. However, they're doing exactly what they're supposed to do by policy and procedure in their training with the police department," said Kevin Boontjer, a retired police sergeant. 

[ORIGINAL STORY: PD: Man dead after running from officer in Tempe]

The teen was later found in an alley and taken to the hospital where he later died.

Police said it all started when they received a call about a suspicious vehicle just after 2:30 p.m. An officer arrived and found the teen burglarizing the vehicle.

The teen then got out of the vehicle and ran off with the airsoft gun.

During the chase, the officer perceived a threat and the boy was shot.

"It really doesn't change the dynamics of the event from the officer's perspective unfortunately. It is impossible to train someone on what is a real weapon and a fake weapon. It's just impossible," Boontjer explained.

Boontjer said typically airsoft guns have an orange tip to indicate that it is not a real gun. However, he said some people remove the orange tip, or it can be hard for an officer to see during a chase. 

"Let's say that the gun did have the orange tip on it. You're running, your vision is bouncing, you can't keep normal vision as you're running, and you're trying to, again, assess a hundred different pieces of information as you're running," Boontjer explained. "And when we train these officers for these lethal force situations, we can't teach them to look at something so microscopic as an orange dot that is bouncing around, that could be facing away from them as the suspect is running away." 

Police said the officer told the teen to stop.

"I would suspect that when this started to occur, the police officer said 'stop' or 'don't run' or something and unfortunately if the suspect had stopped and followed the orders the officer gave that person, there would probably be a much different outcome," Boontjer said. 

Police said the incident was recorded on the officer's body-worn camera.

The teen had removed the airsoft gun and items from the vehicle, police said.

An investigation is ongoing. 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(40) comments


An officer cannot look for an orange tip on the gun. Every career criminal would paint one on their gun. Police officers would die due to that moment of hesitation. How about this: Don't run from the police. DON'T answer their questions, but don't run from them. Especially if you have a gun in your hand.


Used to be a time when if you shot someone in the back, you are a coward. I dont see why that wouldn't be the case here. Clearly he shot a kid running away from him in the back. This is a disgrace and should not stand. No matter your political views, we cant have cops shooting people in the back. They must face consequences for such injustice.


Were you there? I didn't think so. When someone's turning to point a gun at you, we'll see how you react, Mr. armchair officer.


I want there, but it's a pretty good video, this kid was far away and never turned. Anyone can watch it.


Why would a Mexican teen break into a car and take something that was not his property? [happybirthday]


Question asked, question answered.


Has anyone stopped to consider what the police officer must be experiencing now?? Sure, it's sad for the kid's family that he made such a monumental mistake - but kids do stupid things sometimes with disastrous consequences. Unfortunately, some poor cop who was only trying to do his job (of protecting US) now has to be saddled with a lifetime of mental anguish because of this kids stupid error in judgement. Support YOUR police officers.


oh yea poor cop...now the video shows the kid took off running and never even looked back...the out of shape cop shoots him in the back from what looks to be about 30-50 yards away...hopefully hes saddled with a lifetime of prison time...


He won't be charged. He was doing his job. If you don't want a bullet in your back, don't break into cars, ignore orders, or wield a realistic-looking gun. 14 isn't 8 years old. He knew better.


I wouldn't try to think or feel on behalf of anyone else. You'd be surprised how well some people can cope with things that would emotionally scar others. Cops see crime and murder regularly, and not all of them are affected by their job.


Show the body cam footage.


Well said, everyone.


I love everyone's opinions, just shows what your true colors are. Trash parents that you don't even know anything about. Could be model citizens and the kid just strayed.. I'm tired of all you fn closet racists


When two brothers have two different surnames that tells us all we need to know.


Stupidity isn't racial. It affects all races equally.


Where were the parents? Or was this kid just made to get benefits from the government? Dumb kid and trash parents!


Culling the herd.


Well, it's a shame that this kid put himself in a position that got him killed.
He's gone. His family is destroyed. The cop that feared for his life and fired his gun will never be the same. The media will highlight all the social-justice BS and little, if any, discussion of how it started.
In short, everyone loses... the family, the police officer, the community. Everyone.


Well said.


because the kid made a bad decision.


Multiple bad decisions, including wielding a potentially lethal weapon while being chased by law enforcement. Ya.


You don't know how any of those people feel. Stay in your own lane when it comes to emotions because you don't know what you're talking about.


Woo Hoo! Back the Blue! Let's kill more kids! Awesome job, PHX PD!!


so you would rather have another cop murdered?


No, I'd rather guns didn't exist. But since they do, I prefer people not run with them or point them at cops.


Many of the cops here are poorly trained, trigger-happy, and just TERRIBLE. This officer-involved shooting bullshit doesn't happen in other states like it happens here. I get sick of all the supportive comments on here (hence the SARCASM) when they do such a sh*t job-- like obliterating teenagers from 30 yards away.


It wasn't Phoenix.
Reading comprehension. It's not just for school kids.


I don't really give a sh*t. It was a sarcastic comment.


Sucks that the kid lost his life due to stupid choices, but how is this the cops fault? Never mind, people with your mindset are not capable of reasonable thought processes.


It wasn't. End of story.


You are as scummy as scum gets, let's kill more kids wow just wow.... how about you stop advocating for kids to be killed. do you hear yourself?! Probably a trump supporter if I had to guess.


It does not matter the age of a person pulling a gun on a cop, it is just as deadly if a 10 year old or a 80 year old pulls a gun. You are the scum for thinking a cop should die just because a kid has a gun in his hand.


How many "kids" (he wasn't kid) do you know who break into cars, evade police or wield deadly-looking weapons? Quit being melodramatic.


Jesus Christ-- it was SARCASM.


[pirate] you know if some of these (kids) were not out being thugs and doing wrong, pulling guns on cops like they're Billy bad a$@, they'd still be alive!


Yeah, but then they'd need to finish school and get a job. It's easier to steal other peoples' things and act like a baby gangster than actually do something productive like everyone else.


Pull a gun on a police officer and show just how stupid you are. Real gun or air soft it doesn't matter.


Once again...dumb kids making even dumber choices....so sad.
commit a crime at 14...bad
run from police when being asked to answer for that crime...even worse.
grab a fake gun before running...does it get any worse?
turn on police with that fake gun in your hand...complete lack of any sensibility or morality.


We've all been 14. Few if any of us felt the need to burglarize cars, steal guns or run from the police. Some people just don't fit into society at any age.


Shut up, virtue signaling moron.

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