A Kent police officer was killed when he was struck by another officer during a chase early Sunday, police and the Washington State Patrol said.
Police and media reports said a preliminary investigation showed the officer was killed when he was struck by another Kent police officer chasing a pickup truck. The officer who was struck had apparently been deploying a strip of spikes across the roadway, intending to flatten the fleeing pickup truck’s tires. After the collision, the driver of the patrol vehicle that struck the officer went on to crash into three cars parked at a nearby in intersection and was seriously injured, said Kent Police Cmdr. Jarod Kasner in a news release.
“An officer deploying a spike strip for the pursuit was struck and killed, it appears at this point, by a pursuing officer,” said Washington State Patrol District Commander Ron Mead during a news conference Sunday.
The officers have not been identified.
Kent Police Cmdr. Jarod Kasner, his voice cracking at a televised news conference outside the police station, said officers had responded about 1:50 a.m. to a report of shots fired near Russell Road South and West Meeker Street, near a Shari’s restaurant. At the time the 911 call came in, a Kent police officer was also in the area and heard the gunfire. The officer witnessed a red pickup truck fleeing a parking lot as the witness described the suspect vehicle to dispatchers, he said.
Kasner said officers were in pursuit and that spike strips were deployed near Reith Road and Kent-Des Moines Road.
“One Kent Officer was struck and the pursuing officer was involved in a collision,” Kasner said in a news release.
The suspect vehicle, at least one tire flattened, continued east on Kent-Des Moines Road until it crashed and rolled onto its roof near Washington Avenue, he said. One person was arrested.
“It is directly because of this suspect or suspects’ actions that led to this officer’s death,” Mead said at the news conference. “While that vehicle may not have been the one that struck the officer, make no doubt about it that had it not been for their actions this officer would be alive right now.”
The officer who was struck by the vehicle died at the scene. The second officer was transported to Harborview Medical Center and is in satisfactory condition, Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.
Washington State Patrol is assisting with the accident investigation, while the Valley Investigation Team is conducting the criminal investigation, Kasner said. He said SR516 would be closed for several hours.
“This is a very sad day for law enforcement,” Mead told reporters. “Our hearts go out to the Kent Police Department.”
Detectives had marked off a number of shell casings located in the parking lot of the Shari’s restaurant. Kasner said anyone with information regarding the initial illegal firearm discharge or the accident to call the Kent Police Department tip line at (253) 856-5808.
State and local police went to the scene of the crash early Sunday morning to escort the officer’s body to the medical examiner’s office.
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