Outrage over Pasco police shooting of man who threw rocks

Family members of Antonio Zambrano-Montes gather outside of Pasco City Hall to protest the shooting. (Photo courtesy of Anna King / Northwest News Network)
Family members of Antonio Zambrano-Montes gather outside of Pasco City Hall to protest the shooting. (Photo courtesy of Anna King / Northwest News Network)

Dozens of bystanders witnessed Pasco police officers shoot at Antonio Zambrano-Montes over thirteen times on Tuesday.

It was the latest in a string of recent incidents where Pasco police have used deadly force against citizens, and evoked an angry response from locals and family members who gathered outside Pasco City Hall yesterday.

Zambrano-Montes, an orchard worker with roots in Michoacan, Mexico, was throwing rocks into a busy street outside of a Fiesta Foods supermarket in downtown Pasco. Some of the rocks were reported to have hit Pasco police who attempted to arrest him. Zambrano-Montes, who had a history of erratic behavior, refused arrest and was chased in front of onlookers and downtown traffic until he was shot and killed by police officers.

There are several graphic Youtube videos that show Zambrano-Montes running from three police officers and finally surrendering with his hands over his head then turning back toward police before he was shot several times by an officer. It is unclear whether all three officers fired at him.

Warning: graphic content

At a news conference Wednesday, Pasco Police Chief Robert Metzger identified the officers involved in Tuesday’s shooting as Ryan Flanagan, Adam Wright and Adrian Alaniz. Metzger announced that the officers involved would be placed on administrative leave while a Special Investigative Unit looks in on the killing and determines whether or not police were properly following conduct.

“In the meantime, I would ask the public to believe in us and believe in the system and believe we will do the right thing,” Metzger said.

This killing is just one of four in the last six months by Pasco police, who are sworn to protect the town of about 68,000. The officers involved in the previous shootings were cleared of wrongdoings.

Rich Stolz, Executive Director of Seattle human rights organization, One America, says that the tragic shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes is a call-to-action for immediate review of law enforcement practices.

“[Tuesday’s] tragic shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in Pasco, coming on the heels of three other police homicides in the past year, should serve as a reminder to all law enforcement agencies about the appropriate use of force. A full investigation is critical.  Community members are outraged by the use of lethal force on a man who was reported to be fleeing. Coming at a time of heightened scrutiny of law enforcement practice Pasco authorities must rebuild trust in immigrant and other communities of color they are charged with protecting,” Stolz said in a prepared statement.

Today, several people outside of Pasco City Hall are rallying in support of the Pasco police officers involved in the shooting.

Next week, on Thursday February 18, there will be an anti-police brutality protest at Seattle’s Westlake Center and a vigil held for Zambrano-Montes.

This article has been modified since it’s original posting to correct a description of videos of the shooting and to update an unclear passage.