A deadly police shooting of a man throwing rocks at officers in Pasco, Washington, on Tuesday sparked a peaceful protest of about 500 people over the weekend, while the victim’s family has filed a lawsuit and state officials have ordered an inquest into the man’s death.
The fatal shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, was captured on cell phone video by witnesses and is being criticized by many in the community and across the country. In the video, Zambrano-Montes does not appear to be an immediate threat to the officers, who had already deployed a stun gun against the man in an effort to subdue him.
It’s unclear if Zambrano-Montes had a rock in his hand when he was shot, but, according to the officers, he was repeatedly told to stop throwing rocks, but ignored their commands. Furthermore, two officers had already been hit with the rocks, some of which were as large a softball.
After hurling the rocks, Zambrano-Montes attempted to run away, but three officers followed him. Once he crossed the street, Zambrano-Montes turned around to face the officers, at such time the officers opened fire on the man, striking him in the torso.
Zambrano-Montes, a Mexican citizen who had lived in the area for about 10 years and did seasonal work at an orchard, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Although Zambrano-Montes was married, he and his wife were separated. However, Zambrano-Montes still offered financial support for his two teen daughters. The family has filed a $25 million suit against the city, NBC News reported.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, and an investigation is underway to determine whether the officers’ actions were justified. Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel said the inquest is only one of three which he has conducted in his 20 years as coroner. Blasdel also added that, in an attempt to avoid violent protests which have occurred in other parts of the country, he intends to make the entire investigation completely transparent.
Last week’s shooting was the forth officer-involved fatal shooting in the city since last summer.
Court records also showed that Zambrano-Montes had a prior run-in with authorities last year and was arrested for assault after he threw objects at officers and attempted to grab an officer’s service pistol.