Police officers in Washington state shot and killed a homeless man who was throwing rocks. He died at at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger said that officers used a stun gun against the homeless man, 35-year-old Mexican-born Antonio Zambrano-Montes, but it had no effect. He cited what he called “threatening” behavior as what led officers to discharge their firearms.
Metzger indicated that he didn’t know whether a weapon had been found, the Associated Press reported via MSN. The report indicated that witnesses said that the man was running away when he was shot and that he had run roughly half a block before he was killed near the Fiesta Foods store.
Antonio’s last address was listed as a Pasco homeless shelter.
The Pasco shooting took place after officers arrived in response to a report of a man throwing rocks at cars at a busy intersection near the grocery store.
The video recorded from a vehicle roughly 50 feet away was recorded by 21-year-old Dario Infante of Pasco, Washington. He told the AP in an email interview that he decided to begin recording after he noticed an officer trying to use a stun gun on the man. He said he then saw the man throw a few rocks at the cops but didn’t see him hit any officers. He also indicated that the man didn’t throw any more rocks after the point at which he began to flee from the officers.
In the video, the 35-year-old vagrant can be seeing fleeing after five “pops” are heard, he then stops, turns around and faces the three officers chasing him. Multiple “pops” can then be heard and the man drops to the ground.
The ACLU of Washington issued a statement in which they called the incident “very disturbing,” as the group’s executive director, Kathleen Taylor, said that running from the cops “and not following an officer’s command should be sufficient for a person to get shot,” she went on to say that deadly force should only be used as an “absolute last resort.”
Ben Patrick, who witnessed the incident, told the newspaper that police fired at the man as his back was turned to them.
“I really thought they were just going walk up and tackle or tase him (…) But they opened fire. His back was turned.”
Mr. Patrick’s wife, Shannon, confirmed that the man was running away as she said that he “turned around to take off running and the cops just shot him,” while all he was trying to do was “walk away.”
Investigators with the Tri-City Special Investigation Unit, which does not include Pasco police, are investigating the cellphone video of the scene, which was uploaded to YouTube.
In another video uploaded to YouTube which captured the aftermath of the disturbing scene, a bystander can be heard saying to the cops that “it was just a rock” as the officers stood over the man’s body, the Guardian reported.
Pasco police captain Ken Roske told the L.A. Times in an interview that Zombrano-Montes had a criminal record and had been charged with assaulting a police officer in January of last year.
Reports indicated that Tuesday’s case was the fourth fatal shooting in the last six months that has involved a Tri-City police officer in Pasco, and that all officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in all three of the prior shootings.
What do you think will happen to the police officers who shot this Pasco homeless man to death?