Phoenix Police Department Releases Report on Shooting Death of Zachariah Pithan

As Williams struggled with Pithan, they both fell to the ground. Williams remembers Pithan "on his knees, or on the ground on the left side of his body," and that, "the suspect was not able to get to stand up during the struggle."

Williams said that, "He did not know if the suspect was attempting to reach for a weapon."

He was not looking toward the shooter, and does not mention a stick in Pithan's hands.

Rather, he was "looking at the suspect's left shoulder," as the suspect attempted to get to his feet. That's when he heard "two gunshots coming from his right side (south), and the subject went limp."

The Fire Department was called, and Pithan was pronounced dead at 9:29 P.M.

The name of the shooter has been redacted. According to PPD spokesman James Holmes, the officer's name is redacted because an internal investigation into the incident is still pending.

However, there is an "Officer Brookins" mentioned as being present during the shooting as well, though his account of the incident apparently is not included in what I received.

At least not under that name.

I asked Holmes about this discrepancy, and about the name redaction.

"I can't override what has been redacted in a released report," he stated via email.

The autopsy and a toxicology report are also pending.

The maintenance manager of the apartments told the police that Pithan had only lived at the apartment complex for about one and a half weeks, and described him as exhibiting strange behavior in the days leading up to the shooting.

"He had shaved his head and would walk around the complex with [a] black cane, yelling to himself," the maintenance manager stated.

Other residents describe erratic, sometimes destructive and threatening behavior on Pithan's part.

He kicked at the door of one neighbor, and shouted threats to another. According to one woman, he called her and her friend "black whores," and threatened to bash their heads in.

"I'll fucking blind you," he allegedly told one resident.

Another saw him at the mail boxes, a glass pipe in his hand, "yelling at himself." Both his roommate and another resident describe him as possibly using drugs.

When the police went to inform Pithan's mother and her fiance of Pithan's death, she mentions that her son had been "diagnosed" with something, though the disease or condition is redacted.

The report further states that two days prior to the shooting, his mom's fiance took Pithan to get something to eat.

"Pithan told him he was having delusions," the report says.

In a statement from Pithan's family that I published in my last blog item on the subject, they acknowledge that, "Zach struggled for much of his life with mental illness."

A friend of Pithan's family has set up a memorial page, asking for donations to deal with expenses related to the young man's death.

"Any funds in excess of costs will be placed in a memorial fund for mental health awareness," reads the page.

The family also asked for the public and press to respect their privacy while they grieve.


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12 comments
sggrange
sggrange

Cops investigating other cops...


Just never feels like we get the truth...

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

This doesn't pass the smell test. Expect a wrongful death lawsuit. The guy was out of control but wasn't brandishing a lethal weapon. Had I been the senior officer on scene, I would have ordered my subordinates to withdraw, regroup, come up with a plan b and of course call for backup.

OBAMACULTWORSHIPPER
OBAMACULTWORSHIPPER

Emanuel Codreanu and Officer Christopher Joja

These people sound like outstanding legal immigrants.  They are on the side of the cult as well.  Remember, when our king says "Yes We Can," played backwards he said "Thank You Satan."  Thank You Satan!

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

A tragic situation in many ways.  A young man who was probably very mentally ill is dead because he did not receive the help he needed or was unable to comply with the treatment he was undergoing.  His mom's fiance says that Pithan was having delusions just 2 days earlier, but it doesn't appear that Pithan received any actual help or treatment.  Did the mental illness lead to the confrontation with the police?  Did the mental illness make it impossible for him to understand, comprehend or comply with the commands from the police or cause him to engage the police as he did?  Who knows.  Just a tragic situation.

Joe Rollins
Joe Rollins

New headline: Idiot attacks people with guns, gets shot.

Gregarious Raptopoulos
Gregarious Raptopoulos

The story should be called idiot gets shot for attacking police officers. This article is so slanted by referring to the officer as "the shooter" over and over. Personalky, I would expect to be shot if I kept coming at a police officer over and over. Its common sense.

Teresa Marie
Teresa Marie

I DO NOT think it was justified. I have read the story, Zachariah had no firearms or weapons in his hands as 4 officers were standing at his door. I am sure as soon as someone grabs an arm first reaction is to pull back! I am not going to die sect the whole article but brut force as in a tackle by the 4 officers would have been more acceptable then 2 bullets in the chest!

Ash Fenix
Ash Fenix

do you the shooting was justified???

bgray59
bgray59

Four Officers and one suspect.  Seems they could have controlled the suspect without deadly force.  

 additional comments:

1. The two shots is not inappropriate.  Officers are trained to automatically shoot twice.  It is called a double tap.  It becomes second nature and the Officer would not recall shooting twice.


2.  Due to a number of incidents/law suits, Police departments have lost many of the intermediate steps between verbal commands and the use of deadly force.  This is a classic case were the PR-24 baton would have been a good alternative to deadly force.

3.  Officers no longer receive the extensive training in nor are allowed to use many techniques previously taught for controlling a physical confrontation.

4.  The taser has become the primary device used to physically control a subject armed with less than a firearm.  In this case a TASER was not appropriate as there was insufficient time to deploy the TASER. Over reliance on this device and failure to use alternatives places Officers and civilians at risk.

The shooting appears to be marginally justified and a civil suit appears justified,

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