Friends of innocent man killed in crash want to know why police didn’t back off during pursuit of suspect

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SEATTLE -- Police on Thursday released the dashcam video of the high-speed pursuit that led to a deadly crash in West Seattle early in the morning. It shows a 16-year-old carjacking suspect hitting an oncoming vehicle as he tries to flee from police. Both drivers died.

The man in the other vehicle was Devin Francis,  21, of White Center. His friends say he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also think the accident could have been avoided.

“He was one of those friends, just one in a million,” says Brentt Charles. “I would have given my life for him, he would have given his for me.”

Charles can’t believe Francis is gone. He says they had been friends since childhood.

“I thought I was going to grow old with him, watch our families get older, go on trips, stuff like that.”

Francis died when a carjacking suspect trying to escape from police crashed into his car on Highland Park Way SW around 2 a.m. Thursday. The 16-year-old suspect also died.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office on Friday identified the 16-year-old as Kenneth Deon Williams Jr., and said he died of blunt force injuries, as did Francis.

Police say they are still investigating the crash, but they have released video of the pursuit leading up to it. Charles watched the video and wants to know why police didn’t back off.

“That just makes no sense why they would continue a pursuit in a heavily populated area, even though it was 2 in the morning,” he says. “There were cars littered down the street they were racing down.”

Police tell us the officer did request backup patrol units, a K9 team and the King County helicopter, which was not available at the time. They say their Pursuit Review Board will be investigating to see if the officer exercised proper caution or put the public at unnecessary risk.

Charles says, in his mind, there is no question.

“The cops should have definitely ended pursuit and we'd have two people alive still to this day.”

Police say the car involved in the pursuit had been stolen by three men at gunpoint. They did find a handgun in the car, but still don’t know exactly what role the 16-year-old played in the carjacking.

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