Police fired 17 times at Mexican orchard worker in Pasco shooting

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PASCO, Washington (CNN) — Seventeen: That’s how many shots police in Pasco, Washington, fired at Antonio Zambrano-Montes when they killed him after he allegedly hurled rocks at them.

Of those, five or six rounds struck the former orchard worker, according to the investigative team looking into the incident.

Zambrano-Montes, a 35-year-old Mexican national, was shot on February 10, in a case that has sparked local protests and anger at what some say is another example of police brutality and excessive force against an unarmed man who is a minority.

Police have alleged that Zambrano-Montes was throwing rocks at cars and trucks when he was confronted by officers. Officers attempted “voice commands and low level force,” and used a Taser, police said, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

After two officers were struck with rocks — at least one of them as large as a softball — police said the officers resorted to deadly force.

The widow and children of Zambrano-Montes have filed a $25 million claim against the city of Pasco alleging that three officers killed the unarmed man “execution style.”

In an interview with CNN en Espanol this week, Zambrano-Montes’ mother, Agapita Montes, denounced police treatment of her son.

“I’m asking for justice for what happened. It was not acceptable what they did to my son,” his mother said. “From what you can see (on the video), it was very bad what they did to him.”

Zambrano-Montes was one of 16 children, his mother said.

Erlinda Zambrano, an aunt of Zambrano-Montes, said she found it very difficult to accept the police version of events.

“We are living with profound pain from how he died, and it’s something very bad and terrible,” the aunt said. “I look at the videos now and I cannot sleep because it’s too hard.”

The family lawsuit claims Zambrano-Montes was unarmed “with his hands out where they could be seen.”

“He had his back to the officers,” the claim said. “At this point, the officers started shooting.”

At a news conference Wednesday, Kennewick Police Sgt. Ken Lattin told reporters, “We do know this from the preliminary autopsy report, there were no shots in the back.”

The Tri-City Special Investigations Unit is still reviewing video to see if there was anything in Zambrano-Montes’ hand when he was shot.

When processing the scene that night of the fatal shooting, Sgt. Lattin said at a news briefing, “I think it’s safe to say there was a rock found next to his body.”

A funeral mass was held for Zambrano-Montes on Wednesday in Pasco. A complete autopsy report is expected in the next four weeks. Witness statements and toxicology reports are also pending.

CNN en Espanol’s Jaqueline Hurtado contributed from Pasco, Washington. CNN’s Michael Martinez and John Newsome also contributed to this report

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