Quick action by four Des Moines Police officers helped save the life of a 15-year-old shooting victim in Kent.
The boy was one of six people wounded in a shooting at a bus stop the evening of July 13 near Kent-Des Moines Road and Pacific Highway South, in the city of Kent but near the city of Des Moines border.
A resident flagged down a passing Des Moines officer and directed him to one shooting victim. The officer then spotted additional victims, radioed for additional officers and medical personnel, then began administering first aid, according to a July 22 Des Moines Police media release. After triaging the victims, fellow officers continued first aid on all six victims.
Arriving fire department personnel and paramedics from King County Medic One provided additional life-saving measures and successfully transported the victims to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for further care. After the victims were treated and stabilized at Harborview, the medical program director for Medic One credited the combined actions of police officers and emergency medical care providers as the reason the teen and others at the scene survived.
“It was a horrific scene and these officers were extremely helpful in a dynamic situation,” Dr. Peter Kudenchuk said in the media release.
One of the officers assisted Medic One staff in performing CPR on the most seriously injured victim, which Kudenchuk noted was “a significant factor in not a single life having been lost in that terrible incident.”
Des Moines Police Chief Ken Thomas credited the officers’ actions.
“There are a lot of great police officers in our region,” said Thomas, a former Kent Police chief. “This incident is a great example of the outstanding work being done by police officers every day. I am very proud of the work done by our officers, Medic One, and South King Fire to save lives and keep our community safe.”
The four officers are Master Sgt. Patti Richards, Officer Shay Lamarsh, Officer Doug Weable and Officer Johnny Tyler. Richards has been with the department 25 years, Weable four years and Lamarsh and Tyler two years each, according to the Des Moines Police. All four came to Des Moines from other law enforcement agencies.
Kent Police are still trying to track down the shooter in the incident that left six victims on the sidewalk along Pacific Highway South near the closed-down Burger King.
“We have several decent leads, but we have yet to identify a suspect in the shooting,” Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla said during his Public Safety report July 21 to the Kent City Council. “We are working with Washington’s Most Wanted to put out surveillance video. Hopefully, we get to the point where we can prosecute.”
Padilla said the incident began with a confrontation between two groups of young adults and teens. One member of one of the groups began shooting at the other group. Police later determined there was a seventh victim with minor injuries, but that person didn’t want to report the injury.
“There are undertones that it was gang related,” said Padilla, who later added that had yet to be confirmed.
Padilla said one of the injured teens likely will have a permanent disability because of the shooting.