KENT, Wash. -- A vigil was held in Kent Wednesday evening to honor officer Diego Moreno who was killed Sunday night while laying down spike strips to stop a fleeing suspect’s vehicle. He was accidentally struck by a fellow officer’s car.
Speaking for the first time since her husband’s death, Shelly Moreno had a simple and brief message to share. “Thank you for grieving with me. Your presence calms my sorrow. I have read every message, card and comment. Thank you for thinking of us during this time."
The large crowd at the Town Square Plaza in Kent gave Shelly Moreno a standing ovation for sharing her remarks.
"It takes a special person to put on that badge and it takes a hero to do the work Diego did day in and day out,” Kent Mayor Dana Ralph said.
That badge on the uniform of every Kent police officer at the vigil had Moreno’s name across it. Officers from agencies across the Puget Sound region were among the crowd standing side by side with the people they serve and protect
"Police officers keep people safe. The police officer can’t go home to his family,” said 3-year-old Liam, who was wearing a police badge sticker on his shirt.
His mother says even though her son may not fully understand exactly what happened, it is a teachable moment about life.
"Accidents happen, that’s what we were explaining to him on the way down here,” said the mother.
Talking about that accident, Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla says the officer that struck Moreno is out of the hospital.
"He is recovering well, he has a long journey in front of him,” said Padilla as the crowd applauded the news.
That officer was identified Wednesday night as Mark Williams, an 18-year veteran of the Kent Police Department. Padilla called on the community to stand with the police in support of Williams.
Moreno's death was a tragic accident that longtime friend of the Moreno family, Marissa Melvin, says is a lesson to her three children to love harder.
"We loved Diego so much. He was such a great friend of us,” said Melvin. It shows my kids to support each other and love each other as much as they can."
Melvin grew up with Shelly Moreno and echoed the words of the police chief who recognized Shelly’s strength in times of adversity and to take on life without Diego and raise their two children
"She’s definitely one of the strongest women I know, but this is enough to be a challenge for anyone,” said Melvin. "Diego was just such a special, special person. Irreplaceable for sure."
The Kent Police Department announced details of the memorial service for Diego Moreno, which will be open to the public. It will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31, at the ShoWare Center.
Anyone who would like to help Moreno’s family can donate to the “Diego Moreno Memorial Fund” at any US Bank.