Was a DPS Officer's Shooting of 16-Year-Old Alexander Wilson Really Justified?

Categories: Morning Poll
Alexander Wilson
A Phoenix Police Department report says a yet-unnamed DPS officer's fatal shooting of 16-year-old Alexander Wilson in April was justified.

Those who have checked out the facts of the case may feel inclined to disagree with that finding.

See also:
-Report: Shooting of Alexander Wilson Justified
-Family Buries Alexander Wilson, 16-Year-Old Shot by DPS Officer
-Alexander Wilson, Killed by DPS, Used No Weapon in Past Armed Robbery
-A Teen's Shooting Death Was Avoidable, Even If the Cops Call It "Justified"

If you've followed the extensive coverage on the shooting from our colleague Weston Phippen, you already know what happened: Wilson and a friend, 18-year-old Will Brown, were driving around Phoenix in a Chevy Tahoe when a DPS officer ran the plate, and found it was stolen.

The Tahoe pulled into a gas station, and the DPS officer pulled in behind them (although he didn't activate his lights and sirens), and approached the teens with his AR-15 rifle.

From Phippen's report:

"I'm feelin' to smash," Brown remembers Wilson saying over and over, meaning he wants to get out of there.

Wilson looked over at the officer and tried to throw the car into drive. The SUV's engine revved, like the driver "could not get it into gear," the report states.

It had only been a matter of seconds, by the DPS officer's own account, from when he had jumped from his car, rifle in hand, to when he shot through the window and killed Wilson.

In the Phoenix PD report, [a witness] says he thinks the officer fired before the car had a chance to move, and that he was close enough to all of this that he could see the hole the bullet made through the driver's side window.

The Tahoe finally slipped into gear and lurched forward with Wilson's lifeless foot on the gas pedal, the passenger, Brown, bailed before it could crash into a cinderblock fence and into someone's home.

There are still not definitive answers to several key questions about the shooting, including whether the officer was standing in a position to be hit by the SUV when he shot and killed an unarmed teenager.

Based on what you do know, is there enough to call this shooting justified?

Cast your vote below:

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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So, I have been following this for a bit, reading all the stories on the subject here.  Somehow I missed this article but I finally put it all together after reading this one.   It's entirely the car's fault.  All one needs to do is look at the verbiage used.  

the SUV's engine revved / before the car had a chance to move / the Tahoe slipped into gear and lurched forward / Wilson's lifeless foot on the gas / before it could crash

Yep, the Tahoe made itself get stolen, or perhaps took off on its own and person-jacked poor innocent young Wilson, we'll never know...then it took this kid for a ride, tried to take out a police officer, and finally crashed itself into a wall.  Yes sir, all by itself with no help from anyone.

It might as well be a 58 Plymouth Fury named Christine. 


What I don't understand is why the officer is alleging that He was in danger of beign run over, for that to happen he needs to be in front of the vehicle and according to the report the shot fired went through the driver's side window, which positions the officer on the driver's side of the SUV as well, how in the fuck was the officer in danger of beign run over. And all this happened in a matter of seconds..........unless the officer is "Flashman"...U know; jump out of the patrol car, position himself in front of the SUV,-when allegedly He was in danger of beign run over- then run back to the driver's side, fire the shot...all this in a matter of seconds. Something is really wrong with this......no surprise though.

Ummmmm.....let me think......oh I got it; the officer was standing in front of the Tahoe and He was about to be run over, so He made a "Curve-bullet" shot, -U know, like when in a Baseball game the pitcher throws a "curve-ball"- hitting the driver's side window, in consequence killing the driver....perfect!!

By calling this JUSTIFIED, it just perpetuates this kind of behavior, what is worse, this officer might become more dangerous since probably He is not going to face any consequence for His actions, making Him a possible "Murderer with a license to kill". And no name yet , pathetic.


Legally, well, cops always walk when they kill somebody.

valleynative topcommenter

Let's see, he's a car thief, an officer has pointed a weapon at him and shouted orders, and his decision is to put the car into gear and mash on the gas pedal.  Yes.  It's justified to shoot a fleeing felon.  More so if you believe that his actions are putting your life in danger.

The fact that he got the shot off before the car fell completely into gear is commendable.

The officer couldn't see that he was unarmed, or that he was 16, so those are NOT factors in the decision of whether or not shooting was justified, anymore than was the fact that he was a known armed robber.


The first legit work day after a three day weekend following Judge Snow reigning down on your arch nemisis and the two stories y'all kick out are a regurgitated attempt to garner support for an obvious bad guy and building a social pedestal to a troll who comments on your blogs...pathetic.

valleynative topcommenter

@IdontRecall  if you're standing next to a vehicle, and it starts to move, you are in danger of being run over.  All it takes is a turn of the wheel.  You don't need to be hit by the front bumper to be crushed by the car.

valleynative topcommenter

@MandyMountain  Not true.  It's not difficult to find instances of police officers who've been prosecuted for wrongful shootings.


@valleynative @MandyMountain Hard, and even harder to find examples where they've been convicted of any degree of homicide. Why do you think there are so often riots after cops beat the rap? Usually charges are never brought, and when they are, the cops walk.

valleynative topcommenter

@MandyMountain  People who riot are not rational.  Their actions aren't based on reason at all, but purely on emotion.

valleynative topcommenter

@MandyMountain @valleynative  If you think it's hard to find, you don't understand Google.  

If a jury finds that they're not guilty of homicide, how is that a sign of corruption?

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