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Former Kentridge High student-athlete Devin Topps shot, killed

Former Kentridge High School athletic standout Devin Topps died early Sunday morning after being shot outside a house party in Kent. - Courtesy photo, NOT FOR SALE
Former Kentridge High School athletic standout Devin Topps died early Sunday morning after being shot outside a house party in Kent.
— image credit: Courtesy photo, NOT FOR SALE

Kent Police detectives continued to follow up on a number of promising leads Monday while attempting to identify the person responsible for an early morning shooting Sunday that killed Devin Topps, a former Kentridge High School student-athlete.

Topps, 18, was shot and killed outside a house party in northeast Kent.

"We are working on some good leads" said detective Rob Scholl in a Kent Police media release Monday afternoon.

No arrests have been made.

Investigators are trying to identify both a suspect and his vehicle. Detectives are also searching for the persons seen with the suspect in the moments before the shooting.

Topps died from a gunshot wound to the back, according to a Monday report from the King County Medical Examiner's Office.

Police were sent to the 20200 block of 92nd Avenue South at 2:05 a.m. for a report of gunfire in the area. Once on location, police found Topps dead in the street next to his truck.

Hours after the incident, word had spread throughout the tight-knit Kentridge community.

“I received a call at 4 in the morning from a former player,” said basketball coach Dave Jamison. “It’s really sad.”

Topps played football and basketball at Kentridge. A 6-foot-2, 215 pound linebacker/running back on the football field, Topps accepted a full-ride scholarship and signed a letter-of-intent in February to play for the Eagles this fall.

“On the football field, there wasn’t anyone you’d rather have next to you than Devin Topps,” said former teammate Dylan Zylstra, who signed his letter-of-intent alongside Topps to play at Eastern Washington University. “To go into battle with him … he was a leader. I thought that he could have played at any Pac-10 school he wanted if his grades were right.”

Topps’ goal was to play at the University of Washington, a dream he noted shortly after signing on at Eastern Washington.

“If the University of Washington comes into play and offers me a grey shirt or something, I will take it,” Topps said at the time. “That’s my dream to be on the national stage to play for a top university. If I feel I can work my way into a scholarship (at UW), that’s where I will go.”

However, Topps never completed the required academic load at Kentridge High and did not attend Eastern Washington University.

“He had a lot of people behind him,” Zylstra said. “A lot of people thought he was on the right path and that college football would be that road.”

A versatile athlete who moved to Kent from Chicago before his freshman year in high school, Topps was just scratching the surface of his ability, Kentridge football coach Marty Osborn said.

“We always felt like at the next level, he had the potential to really bloom,” Osborn said. “I’ve coached for a lot of years and you have kids who you think could play in the NFL. He had some of that rare ability.”

A bruising forward on the basketball team, Topps averaged 3.9 points per game last year.

“He had a lot of charisma,” Jamison said.

According to the police report, Topps was attending a party the night of the shooting. As he and his friends were leaving the house they were confronted by another group of males approaching from the street.

A verbal confrontation grew to threats, at which point at least one of the suspects reportedly pulled a handgun. Several shots rang out as Topps and his friends turned to flee. Topps was able to reach his truck parked nearby, whereupon he collapsed with at least one gunshot wound.

Police investigators have been evaluating a large crime scene, which has multiple pieces of evidence. They are also interviewing several persons that witnessed the shooting.

“We want to know what caused this confrontation to escalate from an argument to a shooting so quickly,” said Kent Police Sgt. Pat Lowery. Police are looking for two or more males, of Asian or Hispanic descent, in their late teens to early 20s, as people of interest.

Kent Police have also been working with Kent School District staff and counselors that are dealing with students grieving the loss. School Resource police officers were at the Kentridge campus Monday, and will return Tuesday to answer questions and help with the grief counseling efforts.

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