SEATTLE – Three teenage suspects have been charged in the fatal police chase that led to a suburban Seattle officer being struck and killed by another pursuing officer in a patrol car.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office on Wednesday filed the felony murder charge against Emiliano Garcia, the 16-year-old driver of a pickup truck that was fleeing from police early Sunday, which led to the officer's death. Garcia is being charged as an adult.
Kent Police Officer Diego Moreno was on foot after deploying spike strips to slow the truck during the police chase when he was fatally struck by the pursuing patrol car.
Prosecutors said Garcia and two underage passengers in the truck illegally fired guns in a parking lot that prompted police attention and then fled the scene recklessly during the police chase, causing the death and multiple injuries.
Prosecutors said the teens were drinking beers and doing cocaine after trying to get into a bar in south suburban Renton following a birthday party. Garcia was behind the wheel with friends inside of his father's red truck when the passengers fired shots into the air at the parking lot.
They said they were trying to scare off a group of older men, but then panicked after seeing police and fled. Police said the truck was going as fast as 95 mph (153 kph).
The two teen passengers are also charged with unlawful gun possession, and one of them is also facing a drug possession charge. They'll be charged as juveniles.
Kent police on Wednesday also named the officer who crashed into Moreno as Officer Mark Williams, an 18-year veteran of the department. Williams was hospitalized in critical condition with a severe leg injury following the crash but has since been released for recovery."
Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla in a statement praised Williams as one of their finest "who was doing his job when tragedy struck."
Meanwhile, the community has been grieving Moreno's death. A vigil was held Wednesday, when his widow addressed the crowd. Moreno is survived by his wife and two young children.
"Thank you for grieving with me. Your presence calms my sorrow," the widow said.
The fallen officer is a Venezuela native who was remembered as a family man and decorated public servant. Moreno was honored last year by the city with a Lifesaving Medal for saving someone from an opioid overdose. In 2016, he was praised for rescuing an elderly woman from a fire.