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.