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Pasco Officer Says He Had To Act Against 'Threatening' Zambrano-Montes

Franklin County Prosecutor
Screen grab from a police dashboard camera video of Pasco police officers at the scene of the shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes

A Pasco police officer said he was compelled to shoot and not let Antonio Zambrano-Montes hit him or fellow officers with a rock.

That’s according to interview tape released Wednesday by the Franklin County Prosecutor in the Pasco police shooting case.

Officers killed Zambrano-Montes in February at a busy intersection.

Adam Wright was the third officer on the scene --- and the first to use his gun. Wright and a bystander said Zambrano-Montes had two large rocks, one in each hand. They said he threw the larger one -- the size of a softball -- at officers with his right hand. Then Wright told investigators Zambrano-Montes moved a smaller rock from his left hand to his right.

“I decided I had to act,” Wright said. “I was not willing to let him continue threatening us or threatening other people.”

Some bystanders questioned the decision to shoot, and said it looked like Zambrano-Montes was holding up his hands to show he was unarmed.

A police report showed Wright had interviewed Zambrano-Montes about two weeks earlier in downtown Pasco associated with a fire. Wright wrote in his report that Zambrano-Montes said he had probably started the fire by accident and that he was high. Wright wrote that he seemed like a “deer in headlights.”

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.