The teenager who responsible for a reckless, high-speed pursuit that led to the death of Kent Police Officer Diego Moreno almost 16 months ago was sentenced to less than four years in juvenile prison on Friday, Nov. 15.
The 17-year-old Emiliano Garcia pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the case. He was initially charged as an adult and faced between 10 and 18 years in prison, but entered into a plea agreement and sentenced as a juvenile, according to KING.
On Nov. 15, the court sentenced Garcia to remain in juvenile lockup until he turns 21 years old.
According to KCPQ, Garcia, then 16-year-old, and two other juvenile males opened fire in a crowded parking lot on July 22, 2018, during a dispute.
The Kent police officers were responding to the area. Garcia led police on a chase at speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.
Officer Moreno, who was an eight-year veteran, had just put out spike strips on State Road 516 in Washington when another officer pursuing Garcia inadvertently hit and killed him, according to the Washington State Patrol.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Officer Diego Moreno. He was part of our family and we will always have him in our hearts. Please continue to keep Officer Moreno, his family, friends, and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/VVpCsrCy9W
— Kent Police (@kentpd) July 23, 2018
The pursuit ended about a mile later when the Garcia slammed the pickup into a car and it rolled onto its top.
The teen then fled the scene on foot with one of his passengers, but was apprehended later that day.
Officer Moreno, 35, died of his injuries, and a second officer was rushed to the hospital in critical condition but has since been upgraded to satisfactory condition, according to KOMO.
The 35-year-old, who grew up in Venezuela, left two young children, KCPQ reported.
He was part of the department’s civil disturbance unit/riot team, and was also a defensive tactics instructor, hostage negotiator, and helped new hires to learn the agency’s computer software programs. He received two commendations during his first six years with the department, KIRO reported.
Alejandra Moreno, the sister of Officer Moreno, addressed the court during the sentencing hearing on Nov.15.
“My life shattered. I lost my best friend. l lost my big brother, and I lost my soulmate. My mom lost her only son and his kids lost their amazing father,” Alejandra said, according to KING. “Now, almost 16 months after his death, the silence of his absence is heartbreakingly deafening.”
“I do not speak about my brother often, at least not at length,” she continued, according to KCPQ. “It’s mostly because I think I can’t possibly do him justice.”
Garcia also apologized during the hearing.
“I want you all to know that I never meant to hurt anyone,” he said. “I can’t imagine the pain and suffering I have inflicted on his family, his coworkers, and many others.”