Suspect's family calls for transparency from police after deadly confrontation in Mesa

A Valley family is calling for transparency from law enforcement after their son was killed Friday, Sept. 25 in a Mesa Police shooting near University Drive and Evergreen Road.

Mesa Police say they were trying to pull over 21-year-old Angel Benitez who was reportedly in a stolen car. Eventually, officers confronted him in a parking lot and opened fire.

Benitez did not survive.

The family is calling the shooting unjustified and want police to release body camera video of the deadly confrontation.

The Tempe Police Department is investigating the shooting.

This all started when Mesa Police say officers spotted Benitez slumped over in the driver's seat of the vehicle.

Benitez took off from the scene as police tried to make contact with him. Officers later tracked him down to a carport at an apartment complex in Tempe.

Two witnesses told FOX 10 they saw the shooting and believe Benitez had both hands up when officers opened fire.

Family members say Benitez was shot several times in the head.

Tempe Police released more details in the case, saying officers saw Benitez drop his hands and reach toward his waistband. Officers considered that movement a threat and five officers fired with both lethal and non-lethal rounds.

Mesa PD OIS Tempe

A witness says this photo was taken moments before Mesa police shot the suspect near University Dr. and Evergreen Rd. in Tempe.  (Peter Morales)

Only three Mesa officers at the scene were wearing body-worn cameras, but Tempe Police say the views of the cameras were obstructed and the shooting was not visible in the footage.

"Makes no sense ... all three of them were covered? Where is the footage where they can prove he was defending himself?" asked Ana Sandoval, Benitez's mother. "His hands were up."

The Tempe Police Department says it is working with the Maricopa County Attorney's office.

Tempe Police released a statement on the investigation, saying, "As a professional organization with high ethics, we are committed to fair and impartial investigations.  At the completion of our criminal investigation, we will turn the information over to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for their review."