Feathered Bastard

Phoenix Police Department Releases Report on Shooting Death of Zachariah Pithan

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"[The shooter] punched him in the face and he fell backwards," the report reads, paraphrasing the shooter's account. "Pithan picked up one of the `sticks' and started to come up. [The shooter] gave him a knee strike to the face at that time to drop the stick.

"Pithan picked up a second `stick' pointing straight up in the air and reared back toward him. He thought he was going to hit Williams or him in the face. As Pithan was coming up with the stick, [the shooter] pulled his gun and fired a shot. Pithan fell on his stomach. [The shooter] grabbed his right arm and handcuffed him."

Pithan actually took two bullets to the chest. The shooter could only recall one.

The shooter talks to his attorney before the interview ends, then adds this explanation:

"He did not use his Taser because Pithan was trying to kill them. He did not think the Taser would work in this situation."

Interestingly, Officer Emanuel Codreanu and Officer Christopher Joja, each of whom struggled with Pithan as well, believed that someone had deployed a Taser when they heard the "two pops" of their fellow officer's gun.

Joja "could not see anything in Pithan's hands," before he heard the pops. He was busy trying to restrain Pithan's legs.

Codreanu, who came in last, went to grab Pithan's legs as well, when he heard what he thought was "the muffled sound" of a Taser deployment. When he looked back, he saw the shooter holstering his gun.

Codreanu does not mention seeing anything in Pithan's hands. The report does not indicate that he was asked about this.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons