Information released by the SIU (Special Investigation Unit) looking at the fatal shooting of a Pasco break in suspect December 14th says the man would still be alive if a relative had not interfered in the incident.

That night 18-year-old Alejandro Betancourt-Mendoza died after he slashed two officers who were attempting to arrest him in connection with a burglary in the 2000 block of North 18th around 8:30PM.  He slashed two officers with a knife, one in the face, the other in the arm, before being fatally shot.

The SIU does not contain any members of the Pasco Police Department, but a mix officers from Tri-City and county agencies. Their report says the dead man's cousin, 24-year-old Martin Mendoza, was also present at the scene of the attempted break in.  When officers got there, the report says Martin attempted to prevent his cousin from going back to jail, he grabbed the vest (bulletproof vest) of one of the Pasco police. In the ensuing struggle to control him, Betancourt-Mendoza was able to break loose and slash the two officers who had been detaining him, before being fatally shot.

Martin Mendoza was formally arrested by county officials on or around December 24th.

The male officer stabbed with a deep forearm wound, Ben Boykin, discharged two rounds from his weapon, killing Betancourt, most likely instantly. The SIU report indicates  Betancourt had a criminal history including a previous threat to a relative with a knife last summer. Three felonies have been charged against Martin Mendoza, and prosecutors say the two purposefully attempted to bring harm to the officers, knowing they were police. Betancourt had recently made a court appearance related to previous infractions.

The report concludes that Betancourt-Mendoza would still be alive if Martin had not interfered in the arrest and set off the chain of events. Martin is being held on $1 million bail. The SIU continues to investigate the incident.

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