Three Pasco police officers involved in fatal shooting have stil - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Three Pasco police officers involved in fatal shooting have still not been interviewed

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PASCO, Wash. -

On Wednesday afternoon the Franklin County Prosecutor, and the spokesman of the Kennewick Police Department Special Investigation Unit held their final media briefing on the shooting death of 35-year-old Antonio Zambrano-Montes.

The briefing was led by Sgt. Ken Lattin and Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant. Sgt. Lattin said this will be the final briefing out of respect for the coroner who is doing an inquest. Lattin said they don't want to put out information that might taint the investigation.

Wednesday's briefing was the first time we heard details about the shooting itself. Sgt. Lattin said three Pasco police officers fired 17 shots. Of those 17 shots, Lattin said 5 or 6 hit Zambrano-Montes. He was very clear that none of the shots hit Zambrano-Montes in the back. Lattin said the 3 officers who shot Zambrano-Montes have still not yet been interviewed. "It would be premature," he said, "to sit down and interview those 3 officers at this time. The investigator needs to have the whole picture, to ask the right questions."

The two also took questions from a group of reporters and discussed how long it may be before a decision will be made on whether criminal charges against the officers could be coming. Sant said, "this is the largest investigation we've had, as far as I've been involved with. There is still a lot happening."

Sgt. Lattin said it would be weeks saying, "most of the witness statements are complete, but need to be transcribed. That will take several weeks. The toxicology reports are still several weeks out and the final crime lab report is several weeks out."

Sant added that there will be a second autopsy, which "will take additional time before we even get the medical report. We're asking people to be patient." Sant also discussed the possibility of the Department of Justice taking over the investigation. "DOJ has not asked nor has the attorney general's office, nor has anyone at the state level. They've asked us to keep them apprised and that's what we intend to do," he said.

During the briefing Sant was asked whether his service in law enforcement. Sant worked as a police officer in Richland and Prosser during the mid-1990s. Sant vehemently denied his past in law enforcement would in any way affect his investigation of this case. "I think frankly it puts me in a better position," he said. "Our office has charged police officers with crimes before. We have to figure out, was there a crime committed? Even if the inquest comes back 6-0, 'hey there's no crime', my office has to make that determination."

The two men also spent some time praising the city of Pasco. "We are very appreciative of the people of Pasco," Sgt. Lattin said. "And the family of Mr. Zambrano-Montes has done an exceptional job of being respectful. It's really a tribute to the people of Pasco."

"We welcome people sharing differences of opinion," Sant added. "We're glad that so far, to my knowledge, there's been no arrests."

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