Hundreds attend Guadalupe vigil for teenager killed by deputy - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Hundreds attend Guadalupe vigil for teenager killed by deputy

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Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday night in Guadalupe to call for peace in the wake of the death of a teenager, shot and killed by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Family members of 19-year-old Joel Smith tell ABC15 they've seen outrage in their community from people upset over his death.

Smith's aunt says she hopes Sunday's peaceful demonstration keeps people from taking action on the anger they're feeling.

Last Thursday morning, Tempe Police responded to an attempted burglary call near Priest and Guadalupe.

A deputy from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office also responded to the call and a spokesperson for MCSO claims Smith pulled a knife on the deputy.

The deputy says he felt threatened so he shot Smith.

Smith died a short time later at the hospital.

Sunday night, a crowd of several hundred people marched to the spot where Smith was shot Thursday morning.

Many of them carried candles with them and some wore shirts with Smith's picture on it.

Smith's aunt was asked by reporters if she felt her nephew's death was justified.

"It's hard to say because we don't have all the facts," said Maria Vacaneri. "Bottom line, he did something wrong and there should have been consequences. I do feel maybe overreaction by the police department was taken and other measures could have possibly been taken to prevent something like this."

At least one of the vigil's organizers told ABC15 Smith was simply putting his hands in the air to surrender when he was shot.

Sheriff's deputies maintain he had a knife and was threatening them.

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