Mexico condemns deadly police shooting in Washington state

Pasco officer involved

PASCO, Wash. (AP) — Officers killed a man accused of hurling rocks in the fourth fatal police shooting since last summer, a death that is shaking this agricultural city of 68,000 in southeastern Washington and drawing criticism from as far away as Mexico.

The killing Tuesday of orchard worker Antonio Zambrano-Montes sparked protests after witnesses said he was running away when he was shot in a busy intersection in Pasco, a city about 215 miles southeast of Seattle.  

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department on Thursday condemned the shooting of the man raised in that country. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he was monitoring the situation. “We are going to need to get to the bottom of understanding the circumstances of this,” the governor said. “There will be, and needs to be, a very complete assessment of all of the circumstances of what happened here.”

Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel, whose office was conducting an autopsy on Zambrano-Montes, said he was considering convening an inquest jury to look into the death. “We don’t want another Ferguson here in Pasco,” Blasdel told The Seattle Times, referring to the unrest that followed the Aug. 9 killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, and a grand jury’s decision not to indict the white officer who shot him.

But the coroner says he won’t decide until the investigation wraps up. “This was really not a racial issue,” Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger told KING-TV of Seattle. The chief met for two hours with Zambrano-Montes’ relatives.

“Three police officers against one man throwing a rock?” an aunt, Angela Zambrano, said to The Times. “This was murder in cold blood.” Police say Zambrano-Montes’ threatening behavior led officers to open fire. The 35-year-old threw multiple rocks, hitting two officers, and refused to put down other stones. They say a stun gun failed to subdue him.

He had a run-in with Pasco police early last year, having been arrested for assault after throwing objects at officers and trying to grab an officer’s pistol, court records show. The shooting launched protests, and demonstrators say they will gather again Saturday.

Meanwhile, a handful of people showed up at Pasco City Hall on Thursday to support police. “It’s important for these officers to know the entire community is not out to get them,” Chris Black, an Army veteran, told the Tri-City Herald.

The police chief has appealed for patience during an investigation and an internal review. “The officers are … on administrative leave — until they are reviewed and everything is done, they will not be back to work,” he said. “It’s important we get the right information.”

Some people who saw the shooting videotaped the confrontation. In one recording, five “pops” are audible shortly after the video begins, and the man can be seen running away, across a street and down a sidewalk, pursued by three officers. As the officers draw closer to the running man, he stops, turns around and faces them. Multiple “pops” are heard and the man falls to the ground.

In three previous fatal police shootings in Pasco, prosecutors cleared officers with the Pasco Police Department and a sheriff’s deputy who was working on a regional SWAT team. Zambrano-Montes was raised in Michoacan, Mexico, and has lived for about a decade in Pasco, where more than half the residents are Hispanic.

In its statement, Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department called the shooting one of the “events in which unwarranted use has been made of lethal force.” The department said it was helping Zambrano-Montes’ family “with the aim of ensuring that all available legal avenues are explored and taken to their fullest extent.”

Family members told the Tri-City Herald that Zambrano-Montes battled depression after being separated from his two teen daughters. “He was a kind person, family-oriented,” his cousin, Blanca Zambrano, told the newspaper. “He was hard-working.”

6 thoughts on “Mexico condemns deadly police shooting in Washington state

    1. Your cop buddies will blast you to smithereens…and your little dog too!!
      If you know them personally, i ‘spect that you’d get shot in the back.

  1. We do not have such were I live. If you threw rocks at vehicles the citizen would walk out and grab you. Drop you in the sewer, and hold you for the police. When the police came you would be asking them to protect you. So no need for them to shot you. Very low crime here. But our police would never fire 13 rounds with people out. 1 round would do. And if they fired more than 3 they would be buying amunition out of there own pocket and need requalifie to cary a gun. But rare to hear of the police shooting here. Reminds me of a American FBI agent here. He was in a hit and run. He fled. the people chased him down here. Drug him out of his car and hit him a little. Till the police came. He complained to the chief of police here. I held up my badge and they still hit me and held me for the police. Yes he said such. The chief of police told him just shut up! Pay for the damage to the cars! And go back to America were your type belong! Do not return please!

  2. stating this was not a racial issue would have been more appropriate. had a Native American done that we would have been shot the first time. hey Mexico, welcome to America~sarc

  3. “We don’t want another Ferguson here in Pasco,” Blasdel told The Seattle Times.”

    You may not, but there are those who do.

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