A verdict is reached in Antonio Zambrano coroner's inquest - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A verdict is reached in Antonio Zambrano coroner's inquest

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12/14/16 UPDATE:

PASCO, WA - The verdict is in, in the Franklin County Coroner inquest into the shooting of Antonio Zambrano in Pasco nearly two years ago.

The jury came back with a decision just moments after the inquest wrapped up this afternoon.

Reporter Mackenzie Allen was at the inquest and has the results as well as what's next for this case. The verdict from the five-person jury found that all three officers believed Antonio Zambrano was a threat to their lives, as well as the lives of others.

This comes after the prosecutor's office ruled in September that the shooting was justified.

In addition to the belief that Zambrano posed a serious threat, the jury also ruled that the officers reasonably believed Zambrano had committed or was committing a felony at the time of the shooting. Officers testified that he was throwing large rocks at them and did not surrender after initially being Tased. 

When asked if he fired on Zambrano in order to prevent him from escaping, Officer Alaniz said that was not part of his decision making, and that he was specifically concerned about the threat Zambrano posed.

Speaking after the verdict was read, Special Deputy Coroner Michael Fox said he was surprised that jurors applied that answer to all three officers involved.

"I thought it was interesting that the last three questions about escape were answered no and I wasn't aware of anyone testifying to that particular conclusion until Officer Alaniz did so this morning," said Fox.

According to Washington State Law, an officer can be justified in using deadly force if they are doing it to prevent a suspect from escaping.

Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel said he hopes this verdict will ease any remaining concerns from the public.

"I hope the community can see how the investigation was done, that was laid out and was made transparent, that they could see the witnesses that testified," Blasdel said. "They could see their body language, their gestures, that sort of thing."

So what's next?

Blasdel said that as far as his office is concerned, the matter is settled.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

PASCO, WA - The long-awaited Antonio Zambrano Coroner's inquest began today at Columbia Basin College. 

Five witnesses were called to testify, and we sent reporter Rex Carlin out there to learn more about what happened.

Day one of the Zambrano inquest lasted about seven hours and included expert witness testimony as well as members of the incident investigation team from the Kennewick Police Department.

One important element of today's testimonies was when a forensic video analyst showed the jury a real-time look at five different simultaneous recordings of the moments leading up to the shooting, showing the jury various angles on the screen of the same moments in time.

There was far less public interest than officials expected, with only a handful of people in the audience today.

The inquest will continue at Columbia Basin College tomorrow morning at 9:00, where four more witnesses will appear, including the three officers involved in the shooting.

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