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3 suspects in custody after officer killed by patrol vehicle during chase

KENT, Wash. -- The second and third suspects in a police chase that ended with an officer being struck and killed by a patrol vehicle have been taken into custody, police in suburban Seattle announced.

The chase began around 2 a.m. Sunday after a red truck was seen leaving a parking lot where gunshots had been reported in Kent.

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

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. Three suspects in the car fled on foot. One was arrested at the scene. Two others, the driver and the passenger, were taken into custody Monday, Kent police chief Rafael Padilla said. It's not clear what charges they face.

The patrol car also ran into an SUV that spun into two other vehicles. The officer driving the patrol car was hospitalized in critical condition but had improved by Sunday night.

Padilla described Moreno, an eight-year veteran of the force, as an "outstanding father, an incredible human being and an example for all of us." 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.

Padilla described the officer whose patrol car struck Moreno as "one of our finest" and an 18-year veteran of the force.

He said the officer "needs our support and we need to support him."

"Law enforcement isn't cut and dry," he said. "Good people doing their absolute best to serve their communities sometimes fall upon tragedy."

At a press conference Sunday, Washington State Patrol District Commander Ron Mead blamed the suspects for Moreno's death. The Washington State Police is investigating the fatal crash.

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