‘She was our Wonder Woman’: Colleagues, police speak out after SPD officer killed on I-5
The Seattle Police Department officially identified an officer who was struck and killed on I-5 early Sunday while off-duty.
While several news outlets had reported her name on Sunday, SPD further confirmed that information on Monday afternoon, identifying her as Officer Alexandra Harris.
Harris was hit when she stopped to assist in an accident on I-5. And just moments after being struck, her vehicle was stolen.
According to the incident summary from the SPD Blotter, she had just left work when she happened upon a collision on I-5 near South Forest Street. At this point in the investigation, SPD writes, it appears that Harris pulled over and got out to check on the drivers involved in the collision. She was outside her vehicle when she was then struck by an additional motorist and killed.
Harris served in SPD’s Wellness Unit out of the West Precinct, as well as the Community Response Group. Fellow officers and colleagues issued condolences Monday, with interim Chief Adrian Diaz stating that she “embodied everything the Seattle Police Department is working to become.”
“Her dedication to the people of this city is an example to every member of our department, and all those who will come after her,” Chief Diaz added.
The Seattle Police Officers Guild also released a statement, with SPOG President Mike Solan calling her “our Wonder Woman.”
“Seattle lost an incredible police officer yesterday morning,” Solan said. “Moreover, humanity lost a piece of its foundation as her spirit was called for another service. She exemplified how a public safety peace officer should conduct themselves.”
Washington State Patrol will be investigating the circumstances that led up to the incident.
The driver who hit Harris stayed at the scene, and state patrol says they are cooperating with the investigation.
The men who held a news conference announcing the tragedy have many years of experience in law enforcement, KIRO 7 TV reports, yet they were obviously upset about what happened.
That accident claimed the life of an officer doing what was right, they said.
“Really speaks to where we are as a society, where we have such callousness when it comes to loss of life,” Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead said.
Mead did not try to hide his emotions regarding the death of Harris, who had just got off duty and chose to stop along I-5 while it was raining.
She was there to help troopers dealing with two multi-vehicle collisions within 90 minutes of each other. The chaos and confusion of two collision scenes were still apparent Sunday.
“What we do know is that one of the drivers involved in that original collision, in that original three-car collision, which was the second collision, series of collisions, is the one that stole the officer’s personal personal vehicle,” Mead said.
The officer spotted the second accident, and that was at 1:18 a.m. Sunday. A minute later, the call came in that she had been struck.
As would be expected, the tragedy has hit her family hard — and her colleagues, too.
“Listen, anytime an officer, anytime a person is killed simply out there doing what they think is right should be problematic to anybody,” Mead said.
“It’s devastating,” said Assistant Seattle Police Chief Tom Mahaffey. “It’s very difficult for all of us. Piggy-backing to what Captain Mead said, to lose anyone in this manner would be devastating. But when it’s somebody committed to public safety, trying to do the right thing when they could have just kept going.”
The officer’s personal car that was stolen has since been found. Detectives found the vehicle abandoned, and they’re still looking for the suspect.
Washington State Patrol is asking anyone who knows anything about the incident to give them a call.
Deborah Horne with KIRO 7 TV contributed to this report.