Following chase with K-9 unit, Kent Police make arrest in Devin Topps murder
December 22, 2010 · Updated 4:58 PM
Kent Police have made an arrest in the Oct. 31 shooting death of Kentridge High School athletic standout Devin Topps.
Police took a 20-year-old Auburn man into custody Tuesday evening for investigation of first-degree murder after he was tracked down at a SeaTac 7-Eleven store at South 194th Street and Pacific Highway South.
The arrest culminated an early evening cat-and-mouse surveillance effort by police, according to a Kent Police media release.
Working with information developed by Kent detectives, undercover officers went to the Kings Arms Motel in Des Moines on a tip that evidence of the crime would be located there.
Detectives identified and followed two cars associated to the crime leaving the area. One of those cars was stopped a short time later without incident. When detectives attempted to stop the second car, the driver sped into a nearby residential neighborhood before abandoning the vehicle.
Police surrounded the area and while searching for the vehicle's two occupants, saw another car driving away quickly. When they tried to stop that car, officers saw a passenger jump out and run away.
A Kent Police K-9 team was called in to assist. It was during that search that an detective driving through the area noticed a man crossing a parking lot a short distance away. That man, wearing only a T-shirt and jeans, was contacted and eventually identified as the suspect.
The man is being held in the Kent city jail. Bail was set Wednesday at $1.5 million. He has an extensive criminal history, according to police. Investigators have not released his name.
“Our detectives have been working on this senseless murder without rest," said Kent Police Chief Steve Strachan. "It’s good to finally have a suspect in jail and see this case moving forward toward prosecution."
King County prosecutors are expected to file formal charges against the man Thursday.
The arrest follows months of local anguish, and policework, in the shooting death of Topps, 18, who had signed a letter of intent to play football for Eastern Washington University. He didn't play for the school, due to grades.
According to police reports, Topps had gotten into a scuffle Oct. 31 with a group of people outside of a house party in Kent.
Topps was shot in the back, and managed to drag himself back to his truck parked nearby, where he collapsed. Responding emergency crews were unable to revive him.