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Pasco Police Fired 17 Times at Rock-Throwing Man, At Least Five Bullets Hit

Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, was shot five or six times in the Feb. 10 encounter in Washington state, in which he was killed after throwing rocks.
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/ Source: NBC News

Police officers who fatally shot a Mexican man in Pasco, Washington, earlier this month fired their weapons 17 times, and struck the orchard worker five or six times, a spokesman for a task force investigating the shooting said Wednesday.

None of the shots were to the back, he said.

Antonio Zambrano-Montes, 35, was shot at around 5 p.m. Feb. 10 after police said he threw rocks at passing cars and then at officers. Video taken by witnesses and posted online appear to show Zambrano-Montes moving away from officers before he was shot.

Preliminary autopsy information indicates Zambrano-Montes was shot five or six times, said Kennewick Police Sgt. Ken Lattin, a spokesman for a multi-agency law enforcement unit investigating the shooting. All three officers involved fired, he said. A Taser was used at least twice before the shooting, Lattin said. No photos appear to have been taken of any injuries suffered by the officers involved, he said.

The shooting has prompted protests in Pasco, a town of about 68,000 people, a little more than half of whom are Latino. The Mexican government has also criticized the shooting as an unwarranted use of deadly force. This week the American Civil Liberties Union called on the Department of Justice to assist in the investigation and ensure it is "fair and impartial." A Pasco Latino group has also asked for a federal probe.

Lattin also dismissed suggestions that the task force, called the Special Investigation Unit, is unable to be fair because if its connection to Pasco police.

"We take our integrity very seriously and we will put together an impartial investigation," he said. "We’re not here to cover up for anybody."


— Phil Helsel