16-year-old driver in police chase that led to Kent officer’s death charged as adult with murder

SEATTLE — King County prosecutors on Wednesday charged the 16-year-old driver of the pickup truck in the police chase in which Kent officer Diego Moreno was killed with second-degree murder.  He is to be tried as an adult.

He was identified as Emiliano Garcia.

The other two, both 17, were charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and one is is also charged for possession of controlled substances and will be tried in juvenile court.

Just before 2 a.m Sunday, Kent police officers had been pursuing the suspects after shots were fired at a Shari’s Restaurant. Moreno was deploying spike strips on Kent-Des Moines Road in an attempt to stop the fleeing pickuptruck when he was hit by a fellow officer’s police 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.

The prosecutors’ office said of Garcia, “In this case, the defendant was committing a dangerous felony by attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. This felony created a serious and grave risk to the public and to police. As a direct result of the defendant’s actions, Officer Moreno was killed.”

Under Washington law, if a juvenile is 16 or 17 and is charged with murder in the second degree, charges are to be filed into adult criminal court instead of juvenile court, the prosecutor’s office said.

“Charging these suspects is an important first step to helping Officer Moreno’s family, the Kent Police Department and the entire community as we work toward healing,” said Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla.