3 arrested in Kent police officer Diego Moreno's death

KENT, Wash. -- Kent police have arrested three people since an officer died Sunday after being hit by a patrol car during a pursuit.

Chief Rafael Padilla made the announcement at a press conference Monday afternoon at the department.

Just before 2 a.m Sunday, Officer Diego Moreno was deploying spike strips on Kent-Des Moines Road in an attempt to stop a fleeing truck when he was hit by a fellow officer's police car.

“Make no question about this, if it wasn’t for those suspects, this officer would be alive today,” said Rob Mead with Washington State Patrol, who is handling the investigation.

Officers had been pursuing the suspects after shots were fired at a Shari's Restaurant. Multiple shooters were involved, they said.

The Washington State Patrol's preliminary investigation indicates that Moreno had deployed spike strips at an intersection Sunday to slow the suspect. He was on foot when he was struck by the patrol car.

The fleeing suspect's truck landed on a spike but continued on for another mile before striking a barrier and coming to rest on its hood. One person was taken into custody.

The patrol car also ran into an SUV that spun into two other vehicles.

None of those people were hurt but, the officer driving the patrol car was hospitalized in critical condition but had improved to satisfactory condition by Sunday night.

That officer, who has not been identified, is an 18-year veteran of the Kent Police Department. The officer suffered severe leg injuries.

By Monday afternoon, police said the two outstanding suspects from the vehicle -- the driver and a passenger -- had been taken into custody. The driver is 16 and the passengers are 15 and 17, police said.

Ofc. Moreno honored for his work

Officials said Kent Police Officer Diego Moreno made significant contributions during his eight years on the force.

The Venezuela native 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.

"They have suffered a great loss. We will stand with (his family)," said Chief Rafael Padilla of the Kent Police Department.

Community members added Monday to a memorial of flowers, candles, drawings and other items outside the Kent Police Station.

"My heart breaks for you, said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph. "This entire community will remember Diego the hero that he is."

A vigil will be held Wednesday, July 25 at 7 p.m. at Town Square Plaza in Kent. A memorial service will be held July 31 -- details still to come.

A fund has also been set up in the officer's name at US Bank.