Arizona family of 14-year-old shot by police reaches $2M settlement with city

The $2 million settlement comes a year after the shooting death of 14-year-old Antonio Arce.

An Arizona city council voted to approve a $2 million settlement with the family of a 14-year-old boy who was shot as he was fleeing police in an incident last year.

Tempe City Police responding to a car break-in in an alley on Jan. 15, 2019, said they saw the teen, Antonio Arce, in a gray pickup truck facing the squad car.

Officer Joseph Jaen said he took out his handgun as Arce jumped out of his vehicle and began running away from the scene, and the officer fired two shots at the boy-- one which hit his rear shoulder blade area and the second which missed and hit a wall.


The 14-year-old was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

This file photo provided by Jason Gonzalez shows a selfie of Antonio Arce. (Courtesy of Jason Gonzalez via AP, File)

This file photo provided by Jason Gonzalez shows a selfie of Antonio Arce. (Courtesy of Jason Gonzalez via AP, File)

Police say they found a replica 1911 model airsoft gun in Arce's possession.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said in a statement following the unanimous vote for the payout that "the City of Tempe recognizes that former Officer Jaen’s actions were wrong."

"We know that the Arce family is left with the devastation of losing a son and a family member – and nothing the city can do to compensate the family will bring back Antonio or fill the void the family is feeling. We wish the Arce family peace as they continue to grieve and heal,” Mitchell said.

Jaen was initially put on administrative leave following the incident but eventually resigned from the police force-- where he had worked for 14 years-- before the department could terminate him.

The victim's family said in the lawsuit against Jaen that the officer shot Arce even though he did not present any clear threat of danger.

It also alleges that Jaen — who was in a patrol uniform and marked car — didn't identify himself as an officer and that he was approximately 116 feet from a fleeing Arce when he fired his weapon, according to reports by AZ Central.

As part of the settlement agreement, the family cannot pursue any other claims related to the case.


"Antonio Arce’s death cut short all that he embodied — his sense of adventure, fascination with the world, promise, and hope for a better future. His family will never experience a lifetime of anticipated joys," Acre family attorney Danny Ortega said in a statement.

"They will never see him marry; have children and grandchildren; celebrate holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays. His parents would rather pay to have their child returned to them than be forced to put a price tag on his life."