Glendale, AZ — It was supposed to be a Snapchat organized drive-in party in an industrial part of Glendale, AZ long after the businesses closed for the week. But what started off as a great idea to meet up in cars and groups ended with one 17-year-old high school student being gunned down by police early Sunday morning. Levy Isaac Madueno Santibanez was shot after apparently ignoring police commands to disperse. Part of the incident was captured on video and it is nothing short of horrifying.
A family member of 17-year-old Levy Santibanez shared this photo with me. A Glendale police officer shot the teen four times at a warehouse party where GPD responded to multiple shots fired. Police say Santibanez had a gun on him but it’s unknown if he used it. #fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/m33s3gsni0
— Justin Lum Fox 10 (@jlumfox10) October 14, 2019
Friends of the victim say he was holding his cell phone which police mistook for a gun. They claim he was running away from the police when the officer shot him in the back. Glendale PD claims the teen had a gun, had been firing into the crowd, and it was found on his person following the shooting.
"The cop saw Levy run away and he shot him five times in the back," Melanie Ruiz, 18, told The Arizona Republic."
Dozens of teens took video of police shooting 17-year-old Levy Madueno Santibañez after Glendale officers responded to a party https://t.co/ApWCw3xuHV via @azcentral
— Dianna M. Náñez ?? (@DiannaNanez) October 16, 2019
Levy Isacc Madueno Santibanez was shot to death by a still unnamed Glendale police officer who has only been with the department for 4 years. In shaky cellphone footage, the officer can be seen firing at the teen with his rifle. The irresponsible nature of firing multiple shots with an AR-15 into a crowd of teenagers cannot be understated. Witnesses also claim the only people shooting guns at the party were the police at around 2am on Friday.
Learn the facts
“Police say the officer fired his department-issued rifle four times at one of the people actively firing a handgun. That person has been identified at 17-year-old Levy Isacc Madueno Santibanez. Despite medical aid, he died on the scene.”https://t.co/2jqhAMtcBW
— Ian Eggleston (@IanKentEgg) October 15, 2019
Immediately following the officer-involved shooting which left Santibanez dead, Glendale PD deemed the party an “illegal party” and claimed there were multiple reports of shots being fired, although the teens say it was just their cars and mufflers backfiring. Multiple teenage witnesses claim Santibanez was unarmed and was no threat to responding officers.
Glendale police said they recovered a gun from Santibanez after he shot into the crowd at the party. However, witnesses dispute this story and if Santibanez was firing into a crowd, someone would have likely been struck, but they were not. What’s more, police have already changed their original version of events. Originally a department spokeswoman said Santibanez also shot at the Glendale officer, but then police changed their story and admitted that this never happened.
17-yo Levy Santibanez died at a warehouse party- shots fired, people ran, Glendale Police respond. In the end, Levy was shot and killed by an officer, witnesses say he was shot in the back. Police say Levy had a gun, evidence shows he fired it at the party #Fox10Phoenix pic.twitter.com/wWP0mPxYDW
— Nicole Garcia Fox10 (@Fox10_NicoleG) October 15, 2019
Dozens of teenagers recorded the melee after the officer opened fire with one student actually capturing the shooting on a cell phone. It appears to show a Glendale police officer with his long gun, an AR15, pointed in the direction of Santibanez, supposedly opening fire after commanding the teen to “show me your hands”! Although a gun was reported by police to have been found on Santibanez’ person, several of his friends claim the police are lying and denying he had one.
In one video, we can see his friends attempt to pick him up after he’d been shot. There is no gun visible in that video.
Police reported to what they are now calling an “illegal party” when calls to 911 reported hearing shots fired. The party was organized on Snapchat and grew to over 100 cars and 200 individuals. Glendale PD also say dozens of spent shell casings were also found on scene but no other person was reportedly injured by any of the shooting taking place at the warehouse near the intersection of Grand and Northern.
Several area teens have been attending vigils in honor of yet another young person killed by police in an area of Arizona seemingly plagued with officer-involved shootings, with Phoenix PD actually setting records for the number of citizens shot by cops in 2018.
“Long Live Levy” escrito en la banqueta donde permanecen veladoras encendidas para Levy Santibañez- joven baleado por oficial de la policia de Glendale después de una fiesta clandestina. Tenemos nuevos testimonios y nuevas imágenes de este caso a las 5PM por @UnivisionAZ. pic.twitter.com/ztURDJfjhd
— Liliana Salgado (@LSalgadoN) October 15, 2019
Vigils are being held daily to remember the teenager who reportedly wanted to make something of himself. He worked at a metal scrap yard and was saving money to buy a car.
“From day one, Levy and I, we just clicked,” said Joey Guy, who employed Santibanez at his scrap metal business, “He was the perfect, perfect kid.”
Below is the only footage we can find of the actual shooting, at least until Glendale PD releases any body camera footage to the public. However, they are so far refusing to do so.
Le quiero compartir un caso qué pasó el domingo por la madrugada. Un joven de 17 años llamado levy santibañez fue asesinado por un policía injustamente con un AR 15. Aquí están los videos. Está el caso abierto pero no quieren dar el nombre de el policía ni los videos del body pic.twitter.com/Q3pLbhe3ps
— k (@karlalmp) October 15, 2019