State Patrol chief thanks public for support of trooper shot in Kent

Trooper’s injuries are not life threatening despite being shot multiple times

WSP Chief John R. Batiste. COURTESY PHOTO, WSP

WSP Chief John R. Batiste. COURTESY PHOTO, WSP

Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste thanked the public outpouring of support for a trooper shot and injured in Kent but also asked to respect the privacy of the trooper and his family.

“Per medical privacy laws and as is our custom, we do not discuss the personal or medical information of our

troopers, even when they have been injured in service to the public, without permission,” Batiste said in a Feb. 22 statement. “Sharing personal information is up to the individual and their family.

“We appreciate and know that both the members of the public and the media will continue to respect our trooper and his family’s wish for privacy at this time. Thank you for that courtesy. It can help make a difficult road a bit easier.”

The State Patrol has not released the name of the trooper. Several media outlets have released his name. The Kent Reporter has not released his name.

The State Patrol released that the trooper is a 21-year veteran assigned out of the Enumclaw detachment was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

“We are relieved to say his injuries, while serious, are not life threatening,” according to a State Patrol Facebook post.

Kent Police are investigating the shooting and arrested the suspect. Police Chief Rafael Padilla updated the Kent City Council Feb. 20 about the case.

The trooper is recovering and expected to make a full recovery, Padilla said. He added that the trooper was on special assignment with a task force to help reduce violent crime on the state highways and freeways.

King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Federal Way man for allegedly shooting and injuring the trooper in Kent during a struggle Feb. 16 in an apartment complex parking lot. Jason Joshua Posada faces charges of first-degree assault with a firearm enhancement, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and firearm theft, according to court documents.

The trooper pulled over Posada for a suspected DUI and Posada fled on foot. The trooper chased on foot and the two ended up in a struggle at an apartment complex parking lot when each of them pulled out a gun after Posada reportedly resisted arrest and got away from the trooper.

The trooper had nine entry and exit wounds from gunfire, according to court documents. Posada allegedly fired multiple shots at the trooper, first using his own gun to shoot the trooper in the legs and then allegedly using the trooper’s gun to fire more shots, according to court documents. Kent Police investigated the shooting and reportedly recovered two guns in Posada’s backpack, one that belonged to the trooper and another one that matched casings found at the shooting scene.

“The suspect in the case has now been charged by the King County Prosecutor and it will be up to the courts to

decide the legal outcomes,” Batiste said. “WSP has every confidence in the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the Kent Police Department conducting the investigation, to manage their own duties in a fair, thorough and thoughtful manner.”

Batiste, first appointed State Patrol chief in 2005 by Gov. Gov. Christine Gregoire and reappointed in 2017 by Gov. Jay Inslee, thanked all of those that responded to the shooting.

“I want to publicly thank the other troopers, the Kent police officers, and the first responder/medical

professionals who so quickly attended to our wounded colleague’s urgent medical needs,” he said. “Their quick and heroic actions kept this from being a larger tragedy. Thank you. In a time of extraordinary stress and danger, you each helped save a man’s life.”

Batiste then wrapped up his statement.

“Finally, I will say to the public what I said to the over 2,000 WSP employees the day after the shooting – we are in a dangerous business – but that danger is the price of public safety for the state we so love and its people

that we are sworn to protect.

“In the Washington State Patrol, we serve with humility but know that we also serve with a firm resolve to do all we can do to keep the public and our roadways safe. The outpouring of support we have received for our wounded trooper, his family, and the ‘family’ of the Patrol is truly and deeply felt and appreciated.”

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