MOSES LAKE - A man was sentenced to more than three years in prison in connection to a 2017 assault of two Moses Lake police officers.
A jury previously found Joseph Zamora, 37, of two counts of third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer following a week-long trial in May. Zamora was sentenced this week to 38 months behind bars. Zamora plans to file an appeal, according to court records.
Police were called to Space Street Northeast about 9:30 p.m. Feb. 5, 2017 to a suspicious person carrying a suitcase and prowling vehicles, according to a report from the Washington State Patrol Criminal Investigations Division.
A Moses Lake police officer was nearby and located Zamora running toward him. The officer exited his patrol vehicle and told Zamora he needed to talk to him. Zamora continued to approach and the officer noted “Zamora was looking through him with eyes that looked like ‘silver dollars,’” according to the report.
Investigators say Zamora did not respond to the officer and attempted to walk away. The officer then grabbed the man’s arm and told him he was not free to leave.
Zamora was carrying a silver suitcase in his right arm and had a cowboy boot tucked under his left arm but was trying to reach for something inside his left coat pocket.
“(Officer) Hake again asked Zamora for his name and that was when Zamora turned to the north,” the report stated. “Hake observed movement in Zamora’s left hand, as the cowboy boot fell from Zamora’s arm. Hake immediately felt that something was not right and grabbed hold of Zamora’s arms, in the area of his elbows.”
Zamora then pulled his hands free and turned facing the officer Police say Zamora had his hand back in his coat pocket when officer shoved Zamora, who slipped on the snow and fell, hitting his head on the bumper of a pickup truck.
The officer was able to get Zamora’s hand out of his pocket before Zamora pulled on the officer’s lapel microphone and cord, which was stretched across the officer’s neck, according to the report.
The officer then struck Zamora several times with a closed fist as the struggle continued near the pickup truck.
“As Hake did this, he felt Zamora grabbing onto the grip of his duty pistol with his left hand,” the report stated.
Hake was able to get Zamora’s hand off the weapon but police say Zamora then reached back into his coat pocket. Zamora then reached for the officer’s pistol a second time.
“Hake began to strike Zamora in the face, neck and rib cage to gain compliance,” the report stated. “Hake continued to struggle with Zamora as Zamora continued to reach for Hake’s duty weapon.”
Hake grabbed a pistol magazine that had come off his belt and struck Zamora between his eyes. “This was the first time that Hake recognized a change in Zamora’s behavior and Hake felt Zamora had been knocked out,” according to the report.
Zamora reached for the officer’s gun again and started punching and kneeing the officer.
“In response to Zamora’s actions, Hake drew his duty weapon and put it to Zamora’s head,” the report stated. “Hake advised Zamora that he was going to kill him.”
Zamora turned his head, opened his mouth and began biting on the muzzle of the pistol while growling. Hake pulled back his pistol as another officer arrived. The two attempted to detain Zamora before six more officers arrived. Pepper spray and a Taser were used before police were able to handcuff the suspect and use a dog leash to secure his legs, according to the report.
Officers noted Zamora displayed “abnormally high levels of strength and aggression for a person of his size and stature,” according to the report.
Medical aid was requested and as officers waited, a folding knife was located in the coat pocket Zamora had reached into several times.
“During this time, Zamora was lying on his stomach in the snow and officers continued to speak to him,” the report stated. “Zamora responded with grunts, but no words. The on scene officers recognized that Zamora’s behavior was consistent with subjects displaying excited delirium.”
Excited delirium can cause paranoia, panic, violent behavior and extreme physical strength.
Medical aid arrived minutes later and Zamora was unresponsive to questions from AMR personnel, who determined Zamora was no longer breathing. The restraints were removed and “aid began to work to regain breathing and a pulse,” according to the report. Aid found a pulse on Zamora about 10 minutes later and he was taken to Samaritan Hospital and later transferred to a hospital in Spokane.
A blood screen at Samaritan showed Zamora had amphetamine, methamphetamine and THC in his system.