Boy, 14, killed by Tempe police was holding airsoft gun
PHOENIX — The suspect shot and killed by Tempe police on Tuesday was a 14-year-old boy in possession of an airsoft gun, police said Wednesday.
The Tempe Police Department said in a press release that an officer responded to a suspicious vehicle call near 48th Street and Baseline Road and saw someone in the process of burglarizing a vehicle.
When the officer approached the suspect, he exited the car’s passenger side and fled on foot, holding a weapon.
The officer followed him and gave verbal commands. During the chase, the officer perceived a threat and shot the suspect, who continued to run.
Police said they found the suspect in a nearby alley and transported him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The weapon found near the suspect’s hand was later determined by police to be a “replica 1911 model airsoft gun.”
Airsoft guns look like real firearms but shoot pellets typically made of plastic.
They are required to be produced with orange tips to differentiate them from actual guns, but the tips can be painted over or removed.
Police believe it was taken from the car the suspect was allegedly burglarizing.
Tempe Police and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office were investigating the incident.