Mesa police shot and killed 15-year-old Mario Madrigal Jr. in August 2003 inside his west Mesa home. Two years later, his family is still calling for justice.
Saturday was the 10th time the Madrigal family has gathered to protest since witnessing their son’s death. A crowd of about 50 people, including family and friends and an anarchist group dressed in black, marched up and down the street outside the Mesa Police Department.
They wore shirts with Madrigal Jr.’s picture. They held signs and banners. And they shouted as they marched: "Justice for Mario."
"I just want the people who killed my son to be prosecuted," Mario Sr. said.
However, the three Mesa officers involved in the shooting were cleared of any wrongdoing two months after the incident. Former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said in October 2003 that the officers’ actions were justified, and forensic evidence disproved the family’s claim that police used excessive force.
Madrigal Jr.’s death was the first of four officerinvolved shootings in just two weeks involving Mesa police in 2003. The boy’s parents had called police because their son was threatening to commit suicide with a kitchen knife after they insisted he go back to an alcohol treatment center.
The Madrigals claim that police shot their son after he buckled to the floor and dropped the knife as the result of a Taser stun gun blast.
Police said the Taser did not work and the boy refused their orders to stop advancing with the knife. Officers fired 15 shots, 10 striking him in 2.2 seconds.
The Madrigal family has a wrongful-death suit pending. "We just want to let people know we won’t just sit down and take this," said Martha Madrigal, Mario’s mother. "Justice will be served."
Mesa police detective Tim Gaffney declined to comment further on the situation due to pending litigation.