Arizona officer kills teen boy armed with replica gun

A Colt 1911A1 air soft gun similar to what a 14-year-old boy was in possession when he was shot by police in Arizona on Jan 17, 2019. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Arizona officer kills teen boy armed with replica gun

  • Police said that the teen had a replica 1911 airsoft gun in his possession,
  • The shooting was reportedly captured on the officer’s body camera

PHOENIX, USA: Police in a Phoenix suburb say a burglary suspect shot to death by an officer was a 14-year-old boy carrying a replica gun.
Authorities say officers in the city of Tempe reported a suspect burglarizing a car Tuesday and that he ran away holding what appeared to be a handgun.
During the chase, police say he turned toward the officers. One officer perceived that as a threat and shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.
Police said Wednesday that the teen had a replica 1911 airsoft gun in his possession, which they determined he had taken from vehicle along with some other items.
They say the shooting was captured on the officer’s body camera. The police department did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for access to the video.
The name of the teen and the officer who opened fire haven’t been released.
But the ABC15 Arizona station interviewed a man and a woman identified as the boy’s brother and mother, who said they wanted police to explain what happened.
The boy’s brother Jason Gonzalez said, “A police officer has a Taser gun right? Why not shoot a Taser at him? He sees a young boy, my brother wouldn’t shoot. I know he wouldn’t shoot.”
Speaking through a Spanish-English interpreter, the teen’s mother Sandra Gonzalez said: “If they want to tarnish my son, they are wrong.”
“Apart from the fact that they killed him, they want to destroy him,” she said. “No. I won’t allow it, I want justice.”
A Facebook page believed to be the teen’s shows photographs of a baby-faced boy with a peach-fuzz mustache, a few snaps with relatives and friends and a big, green truck. Friends of the family were putting together a GoFundMe page to pay for the teen’s funeral costs.
The department said it will conduct its investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, as is customary in officer-involved shootings.
A self-described socialist group rallied Wednesday night in Tempe to draw attention to the case.
“We want to bring an end to the police brutality in Maricopa County and lock up killer cops,” said activist Alexia Isais. “We are demanding that police be held accountable for the killings they are committing, mostly against unarmed, marginalized people.”
Since the beginning of the year, there has been at least one other police shooting that killed a teen in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest.
Earlier this month, a Phoenix police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old Jacob Michael Harris after surveillance officers reportedly saw him and three others carry out an armed robbery. Police say they were watching the group because they were suspects in several other robberies.
Also this month, an officer in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria shot and wounded a 17-year-old boy after getting a call about a robbery at an auto supply store. Officers said the boy had a gun. He was shot in the shoulder.


Sri Lanka in lockdown after deadly blasts leave scores dead

Updated 15 min 46 sec ago
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Sri Lanka in lockdown after deadly blasts leave scores dead

  • Eight blasts have ripped through churches and hotels
  • Social media blocked across the country in temporary ban

COLOMBO: An eight blasth has been reported in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, as the government announced an immediate curfew.

The curfew will begin on Sunday night at 6:00pm local time (1230 GMT) and run until 6:00am local time (0030 GMT), the Sri Lankan defense ministry said.

The attack took place just hours after a string of bombings ripped through churches and hotels on Sunday monrning, killing at least 160 people.

Access to major social media platforms and messaging services has been shut down by the Sri Lankan government.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the seventh blast hit a hotel in the southern Colombo suburb of Dehiwala, killing two people.

A hospital source said Americans, British and Dutch citizens were among those killed in the six blasts, which also injured hundreds of people.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the blasts as “cowardly” and said the government was working to “contain the situation.”

The public has been told to excercise caution in the following days, with emergency numbers being circulated for people who want to seek help.

The country’s police chief made a nationwide alert 10 days before the blasts that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches,” according to the warning seen by AFP.

Police chief Pujuth Jayasundara sent an intelligence warning to top officers on April 11 setting out the threat.

“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,” said the alert.

The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that came to notice last year when it was linked to the vandalization of Buddhist statues.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least 42 people were killed in Colombo, where three hotels and a church were hit.

The first explosions were reported at St. Anthony’s Shrine — a church in Colombo — and St. Sebastian’s Church in the town of Negombo just outside the capital. Dozens of people injured in the St. Anthony’s blast flooded into the Colombo National Hospital by mid-morning, an official told AFP.

“A bomb attack to our church, please come and help if your family members are there,” read a post in English on the Facebook page of the St. Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo.

Inside St. Anthony's Shrine where one of the bombings took place. (AFP)

Shortly after those blasts were reported, police confirmed three hotels in the capital had also been hit, along with a church in Batticaloa.

An official at one of the hotels, the Cinnamon Grand Hotel near the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo, told AFP that the blast had ripped through the hotel restaurant. He said at least one person had been killed in the blast.

An official at the Batticaloa hospital told AFP more than 300 people had been admitted with injuries following the blast there.

(Reuters)

“Emergency meeting called in a few minutes. Rescue operations underway,” Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, said in a tweet on his verified account.

He said he had been to two of the attacked hotels and was at the scene at St. Anthony’s Shrine, and described “horrible scenes.” “I saw many body parts strewn all over,” he tweeted, adding that there were “many casualties including foreigners.”

“Please stay calm and indoors,” he added. Photos circulating on social media showed the roof of one church had been almost blown off in the blast.

The floor was littered with a mixture of roof tiles, splintered wood and blood. Several people could be seen covered in blood, with some trying to help those with more serious injuries. The images could not immediately be verified.

Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the deadly string of Easter Sunday attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka as “truly appalling.”