A Kent Police officer was accidentally killed and another injured during a pursuit of suspects allegedly involved in a reported shooting early Sunday morning.
The Kent patrol officer was deploying spike strips when he was hit by a pursuing Kent patrol vehicle, according to Washington State Patrol, which investigated the accident scene.
Lifesaving efforts were immediately given to the stricken officer, but he succumbed to injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, Kent Police said.
The fallen officer was later identified as Diego Moreno, a decorated eight-year veteran, according to law enforcement sources.
A second officer who was injured in the chase was in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center, police said.
One suspect has been arrested, WSP Capt. Ron Mead said at a news conference outside Kent Police headquarters on Sunday morning. Two other suspects remain at large, according to authorities.
“It’s a very sad day for law enforcement, and our hearts go out to the Kent Police Department,” Mead said.
Kent Police posted on Facebook:
“It is with great heartbreak that the Kent Police Department announces that we have lost one of our officers in the line of duty early this morning. … His contributions to our department and positive impact on his co-workers and the community have been significant.”
Kent officers responded to a 911 call around 1:50 a.m. of a report of an illegal discharge in the area of Russell Road South and West Meeker Street. At the time of the 911 call, there was an officer in the area who heard gunshots. The officer witnessed a red truck fleeing the parking lot of a Shari’s restaurant. Witnesses indicated that the same fleeing vehicle might have been involved with the shootings.
“They tried to initiate a stop and the vehicle fled from them and made attempts to elude them,” said Kent Police spokesman Jarod Kasner.
According to preliminary information, officers pursued the vehicle on Reith and Kent Des Moines roads, where it turned around and came back toward officers, Mead said. As the fleeing vehicle came through the intersection of Kent Des Moines Road and West Meeker Street, the pursuing patrol vehicle struck the officer while spike strips were deployed, Mead said.
The officer pursued the suspect vehicle as it continued east on Kent Des Moines Road, where it crashed into three vehicles stopped at a nearby intersection, injuring the officer. The truck continued eastbound on SR 516 for about a mile where it crashed into a car near Washington Avenue, and police arrested the suspect.
A spike strip had flattened one of the truck’s tires, Mead said.
According to reports, the pickup truck flipped onto its roof. Three suspects in the truck got out and made a run for it, but one of them was apprehended.
WSP is assisting with the accident investigation, while the Valley Investigation Team is conducting the criminal investigation.
State Route 516 was shut down for several hours.
Police are asking that anyone with information regarding the initial illegal discharge or the accident to please call the department’s tip line at 253-856-5808.