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Kent Police chief says they have ‘strong leads’ in student’s fatal shooting

Rafael Padilla ‘cautiously optimistic’ detectives will solve who shot Kent-Meridian High student

Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla says he is “cautiously optimistic” that detectives will solve the fatal shooting June 3 of a Kent-Meridian High School student because they have “very strong leads.”

Cristopher Medina Zelaya, 18, was fatally shot in the city of Kent’s Campus Park parking lot, 9890 S. 252nd St., which is next to the school campus. He died from a gunshot wound of the head into the neck, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, which ruled the death a homicide.

“I have to be careful, but we have strong information as to why that act happened,” Padilla said during his Public Safety Report on Tuesday evening, June 18 to the Kent City Council. ” I can confirm it was not a random encounter and I can confirm we have very strong leads.

“I feel cautiously optimistic that we will solve this.”

Padilla made the comments in response to a question from City Councilmember Zandria Michaud, who asked if the chief had any updates about the case.

Police have released few details about the shooting and no arrests have been made.

Cristopher was the first of two Kent-Meridian High School students fatally shot in a three-day period.

Hazrat Ali Rohani, 17, was shot June 5 outside a Big 5 Sporting Goods Store in Renton. A 51-year-old Newcastle man faces a second-degree murder charge in that case.


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