Alexander Wilson, Killed by DPS, Used No Weapon in Past Armed Robbery
A look at court and police records shows a fuller portrait of Alexander Wilson, a kid shot by a DPS officer more than a week ago at a west Phoenix Chevron gas station.
A press release sent to Valley media says Wilson was wanted on a warrant for armed robbery, but Wilson used no actual weapon to commit the crime, and the warrant was issued because he missed a probation hearing, according to records.
Wilson, barely 16, had problems with substance abuse, had been prescribed various medication to help deal with mental problems, and had a difficult upbringing, because "his father spent a substantial period in prison," and "the male influences outside his home in his neighborhood were not positive role models," according to a report.
In the eyes of the law, whether Wilson had a real weapon or pretended to have one didn't matter. But the judge factored all of this in, and sentenced Wilson to time served and probation.
That original robbery happened on an August night in the summer of 2012, when Wilson approached three men playing music at a park. Wilson hid his hand in his waste-band. Implying he was armed, he said, "Someone's gonna get shot. Where's the keys? Give me your wallets and phones." The men handed everything over, and Wilson drove away in a 2012 Chevy Malibu owned by one of the suspects.
Police caught up with Wilson in a motel parking lot after he was seen driving the Malibu, and officers found the stolen phones and wallets in the car.
But the DPS officer who shot Wilson didn't know any of this at the time. The man with eight years of law enforcement experience didn't know if Wilson and his passenger, Will Brown, 18, were armed or not. All he could have known that Sunday more than a week ago, is that the car had been reported stolen.
Around 9:30 p.m. a DPS officer near 27th Avenue and Camelback Road ran the license of a Chevrolet Tahoe and the plates came back stolen. The officer, whose name is being withheld, followed Wilson and his passenger. Normally DPS patrols highways, but the officer tailed the two for eight blocks until Wilson steered the SUV into a Chevron gas station and parked.