Below is an earlier version of this story by Kip Hill and Rachel Alexander
Pasco police fired 17 shots during their fatal encounter with Antonio Zambrano-Montes, according to preliminary autopsy results released during a news conference Wednesday. Three officers hit Zambrano-Montes a total of five or six times following a confrontation on Feb. 10, but none of the shots were in the back, said Kennewick Police Sgt. Ken Lattin, the spokesman for the Tri-City Special Investigations Unit. The conference was held less than two hours after a funeral service for the 35-year-old orchard worker. More than 100 friends and family members followed a sobbing Agapita Montes Rivera from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday afternoon, a procession behind the closed casket bearing Zambrano-Montes. Zambrano-Montes moved to the Pasco area from Michoacan, Mexico about 10 years ago. His body will be transported back to Mexico, per an agreement arranged by the Mexican consulate. Before he was shot by police, Zambrano-Montes was throwing rocks at cars on the evening of Feb. 10 when officers responded. Police said he struck two officers with rocks and refused to listen to commands to surrender. Officers chased him across the street before shooting him. Lattin said Wednesday that officers fired their Tasers twice prior to the shooting. A rock was also found next to Zambrano-Montes’ body, he said. The officers involved in the shooting have not been interviewed. Lattin said investigators want to wait until they’ve assembled witness testimony and other evidence, which will likely take several more weeks. “If we don’t have all the facts, they can tell us whatever story they want,” he said. Complete autopsy results and other evidence from the case won’t be released until the coroner’s inquest is complete to avoid contaminating the jury pool. “It looked like we were starting to play this out in public court and we don’t want to do that,” Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said. Sant and Lattin praised the Pasco community and Zambrano-Montes’ family for keeping protests over the shooting peaceful and said they’d made no arrests of protesters. “I think it’s indicative of our community that we have the peaceful protests that have taken place,” Sant said. Through a family spokesman, Montes Rivera declined comment at the church. There were no protest signs or chants from funeral-goers, just steady streams of tears throughout the service conducted entirely in Spanish. Through a priest, Montes Rivera thanked in Spanish the community for their support. Leona Michael Garcia Espinoza placed some cash in a box being passed around outside to assist the family with expenses. “This has got to stop,” Espinoza said. “This is not justice.”
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