FOLLOWUP: SPD dashcam video shows pursuit before deadly Highland Park Way crash

4:34 PM: That video just released by Seattle Police, 14 hours after the early-morning Highland Park Way crash that killed two people – including the driver of the stolen vehicle an officer was pursuing – shows the two minutes leading up to and including the crash.

Also new, via SPD Blotter, police say the driver of that car, a Honda taken at gunpoint in Beacon Hill about three hours earlier, was a 16-year-old boy. The update says that while a handgun was found in that car, detectives “do not yet know what role the 16-year-old played in this morning’s carjacking,” which happened on Beacon Hill.

Along with the video we have embedded above, SPD’s update also includes an audio clip from radio communication going back to the officer who first spotted the stolen vehicle near the Southwest Precinct.

The King County Medical Examiner did not release the teenager’s identity today but did identify the 21-year-old man killed in the westbound car he hit, a 1996 Honda Acura Integra, as Devin Francis. A dog found in the Acura was seriously hurt and rushed to an emergency vet but also died.

The SPD Blotter update quotes Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole as saying, “The collision that took the lives of two people this morning is devastating to the families of the deceased and the officers involved. My thoughts and prayers are with them all. SPD is conducting a thorough investigation around the circumstances that led to this event.”

SPD’s pursuit policy is online here.

ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: Kathleen sent this photo overnight showing a roadside memorial:
memorialcandles

ADDED 3:47 PM FRIDAY: The Medical Examiner has identified the 16-year-old who was killed as Kenneth Dion Williams, Jr.

136 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: SPD dashcam video shows pursuit before deadly Highland Park Way crash"

  • Admiral mom April 7, 2016 (4:47 pm)

    OMG. May they rest in peace

  • Schwaggy April 7, 2016 (4:47 pm)

    This makes me sick. RIP to the innocent man and his poor dog and may his family be at peace. Nothing to say about the scum who eluded police.

  • Westside April 7, 2016 (4:50 pm)

    Wow. That was too much reality for me. RIP all involved. 

  • Lisa April 7, 2016 (4:51 pm)

    heartbreaking

  • Chris April 7, 2016 (4:57 pm)

    Very difficult to watch.  The root cause of this tragic outcome is the criminal behavior by the suspected armed car thief.

    With that being said, it is my opinion that there may be a contributing factor on the part of SPD which needs to be considered.  I am a huge supporter of the LE community, and I value and appreciate the extremely difficult job they have, but I have a tough time with this one.

     High speed pursuits have so much inherent rick associated with them, and the danger to innocent people/vehicles/etc. is SO great.  Yes, the suspect stoll the car via an armed carjacking.  This is a very serious offense, however you have to wonder if it’s appropriate to chase after the suspect as such great speeds, whereas other motorists/pedestrians/etc. are vulnerable to the types of outcomes we just witnessed.

    It may be high time that SPD–like other law enforcement agencies in our region have done–evaluate the risk vs. benefit to these high speed pursuits, and establish policy/procedures that help to reduce the incidences  of collateral damage/injury/death.

    • Z April 7, 2016 (6:16 pm)

      With that kind of support Chris I’m the cops would rather you just said nothing or joined the ranks of the anti-LE. 2:00 am and you have an armed carjacking suspect driving the streets. You think maybe he was out to commit a more serious crime; robbery, rape, murder–in his newly acquired set of wheels.

      And Ashley, stick your head back in the ground! “It is never okay to speed like that around curves and residential areas EVER, it’s irresponsible and endangers others.” Speak/write on things you actually have some knowledge or experience on, other than your TV-evolved opinion of matters.  ……

      • Blue Sheepdog April 8, 2016 (4:13 pm)

        Z – I agree with you wholeheartedly. We have policies that dictate pursuits. Notice the absence of major traffic on those streets. The risk to the public at the time was MINIMAL. We have supervisors who can call off pursuits when the risk to the public outweighs the danger NOT apprehending the criminal poses to the public. In this instance the need to get an ARMED CARJACKER in custody before a more serious felony could be committed by the person in the vehicle was an acceptable risk based on the time of day and the traffic present on the road.

        THE ONLY PERSON at fault for this fatal collision is the driver of the stolen vehicle. Had he stopped, both he and the driver of the Acura would be alive. Unfortunately he chose to run and as a result an innocent life was lost. That is a tragedy to be sure but it was NOT the fault of the officers who were doing their duty. The SPD officers did what they are paid to do and what the citizens of Seattle expect them to do – protect them and enforce the law. Those of you who criticize the way we in law enforcement do this job (while lacking the courage to step on these streets with us) need to remember you are second guessing men and women doing a job you have neither the ability or desire to do yourselves. Remember that the next time you want to pass judgement on a job you have ZERO experience or expertise in doing.

        • Buttercup April 8, 2016 (9:03 pm)

          Thank you Blue Sheepdog. You said it well!!

    • Tom Corey April 7, 2016 (7:17 pm)

      I thought that the patrol car kept a reasonable distance back, and wasn’t pushing for the high speed chase.  It was following, rather than trying to overtake.  The speed was all on the thief.

      • JC April 8, 2016 (7:37 am)

        Tom, You are right.  After watching the video, the cop was slowing down and yet the suspect kept speeding up, so the blame goes to the 16 year old who obviously thought he can outrun the police.  And for those of you saying it’s the cops fault or they should have just him go, etc……..my question is where is the parent in this?  Why is their 16 year old out stealing cars with his/her buddies at 2am?  It’s a sad situation all around.  

        • tigersgreen April 15, 2016 (9:16 pm)

          Why is the question always ask “Where was his parents” maybe they were home sleeping, thinking their 16 year old was in bed, maybe they thought their 16 year old was staying with friends.  I know from raising kids, they do sneak out of the house, lucky for me my daughter was caught the two times she did it and she only went to the street corner to hang out with friends. Before you blame the parents just remember they are now grieving for not only the loss of their son but the death of a young man and his dog who was doing nothing wrong. He made the choice not his parents.

      • Luvleggs April 8, 2016 (9:08 am)

        Tom, I agree totally.  The officer was well back. 

        • sam-c April 8, 2016 (9:39 am)

          Do we know what the speeds were in this chase?  (is that what is being blacked out in the upper left corner of the video?)

          RIP to both young men and the dog.  I am sure both families are devastated that their lives were cut so short.

    • ML alexander April 11, 2016 (9:17 pm)

      I agree!

  • ca April 7, 2016 (5:00 pm)

    wow. not sure if i feel like that pursuit was that necessary. Poor victim and dog, so sorry for their family.

  • waikikigirl April 7, 2016 (5:00 pm)

    This just brings me to tears… 

  • doug April 7, 2016 (5:03 pm)

    RIP Devin Francis.

  • Joel April 7, 2016 (5:03 pm)

    Like a terrorist attack leave the killer’s name out of it.  Only focus on the true victim….the 16 year…..who cares about him?

    • WSB April 7, 2016 (5:18 pm)

      Joel, the only name that is known is that of the 21-year-old who was hit. That doesn’t mean the 16-year-old’s name will not become public at some point. I frankly am surprised the Medical Examiner released any name this soon – usually it takes a day or two at least – and is contingent on whether next of kin has been notified.

      Regarding why a pursuit – I have added a link to the department’s written policy. As longtime readers know, we have discussed pursuits here before, more often in the context of why SPD does not often do them. Anecdotally, our past 8-plus years of scanner-monitoring has included many more commands to terminate a pursuit or not engage on one, than actual instances of them. I’ve included a link to the department policy. It includes these sections:

      2. Pursuing Officers Will Exercise Due Care and Activate Emergency Equipment

      Officers engaged in a pursuit shall drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, and will use both emergency lights and continuous siren.

      3. Officers Will Not Pursue Without Justification

      The circumstances justifying the decision to pursue an eluding vehicle must be articulable at the time the officer initiates the pursuit.

      Officers will not pursue solely for any one of the following:

      – Traffic violations / Civil Infractions
      – Misdemeanors
      – Gross misdemeanors
      – Property crimes
      – The act of eluding alone

      4. Officers Will Cease Pursuit When the Risk of the Pursuit Outweighs the Danger to the Public if the Suspect is not Captured

      Under #3, since carjacking with a gun would be considered armed robbery, the original crime would seem to be included as potential grounds for pursuit. Under #4 – it was 2 am and there are no other cars on the streets, until, apparently, the collision. Does that mean it would have been considered low danger to the public? That’s what the investigation will have to answer.

  • Bonnie April 7, 2016 (5:04 pm)

    It was too hard to watch knowing that an innocent man was on his way up that hill.  :(

  • On The Hill April 7, 2016 (5:04 pm)

    Those of us that travel “Boeing Hill” regularly live in fear of this very scenario every time we come up it. I don’t pretend to know what the answers are to the constant speeding and recklessness on that hill every minute of every day. But that it happened, and that, living in this neighborhood, it could have been one of my dear neighbors, or my husband or son or daughter coming home from work or play, just makes me sick to my stomach. Not that their lives are any more precious than that of the innocent driver hit. Just sayin’. Please, please, people, be safe out there  

    • MFlash April 7, 2016 (9:27 pm)

      ROAD CLOSED sign marks

      yet another sad event

      3 gone in a second

      may they and their loved ones

      find PEACE

  • Lonnie April 7, 2016 (5:05 pm)

    Has the PD made a statement on why they engaged in a high speed pursuit in a residential neighborhood?

    • AMD April 7, 2016 (5:23 pm)

      WSB the pursuit policy above, if that’s what you’re asking.

      I don’t think it’s an easy call to make.  There was an incident not terribly long ago where a carjacker went on a crime spree after taking the first car and everyone was asking why the cops weren’t more aggressive in catching him before there was more than just one victim.  No one has a crystal ball to know with certainty the outcome of their choice.  They just have to make a judgment call with the information they have.  

      My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families, as well as the SPD officers involved.  

      • AMD April 7, 2016 (5:24 pm)

        *WSB posted the pursuit policy above*

  • rw April 7, 2016 (5:22 pm)

    Devastating. Condolences and heartfelt sorrow for the family of Devin Francis. No compassion for the 16-year-old fool who instigated this horrible incident.

  • Joel April 7, 2016 (5:22 pm)

    Should have called off that chase….let a helicopter take over.  The killer’s car had to be doing 80 plus mph

    • AMD April 7, 2016 (5:34 pm)

      SPD blotter said the officer DID call for help from Guardian One, but they were unavailable.

    • WSB April 7, 2016 (5:35 pm)

      Two more things:

      Re: helicopter, none was available. The officer is heard to call for Guardian 1 (the area’s only law-enforcement helicopter, operated by King County Sheriff’s Office but often used by Seattle and other nearby agencies) – and is told that it’s “logged off” (out of service).

      AMD mentions the previous chase – which was in the North End, during the day, and ended with police shooting and killing a carjacking suspect who had been shooting at them. In that case too, SPD released dashcam video. Times coverage: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/shots-fired-following-car-jacking-suspect-reported-down/

    • datamuse April 7, 2016 (5:37 pm)

      DO we know how fast these cars were going? I drive that stretch of 9th Ave often, they practically passed my house. No way were they doing 80.

      .

      On the other hand, if they were going down the hill at 40 or 50–which I see people doing ALL the time without being chased by SPD–and hit someone head on, I’m sad but not surprised that this was the outcome.

      • Trickycoolj April 7, 2016 (5:51 pm)

        Oh that looks like 80 to me. If you watch things like top gear you know things look slower on film. I’ve never seen the scenery on HP Way go by so quickly and I drive it daily to work. 

        • datamuse April 7, 2016 (8:06 pm)

          I’ll take your word for it, I don’t really watch TV. They definitely do speed up going down the hill. I think that curve is why the speed limit on HP Way is as low as it is. It can get tricky.

  • willistheclown April 7, 2016 (5:27 pm)

    Good Lord, the blame the police crowd are already out in force.  Gotta love this city.  It’s consistent if nothing else.

    I suppose if the criminal had made $15/hour he wouldn’t need to commit a crime?  (I figured this was the next excuse coming, so beating them to the punch).

    Let’s blame everyone but the damn criminal.

    • Shawn April 8, 2016 (8:15 am)

      You are being pointlessly antagonistic. 

    • Uncle Joe April 8, 2016 (9:44 am)

      This is not an appropriate setting for your angry political agenda. Have you no shame? Show some respect for the deceased and their families.

  • Michelle April 7, 2016 (5:41 pm)

    I am so sad for the young man who lost his life! A 21 year old man, with his whole life ahead of him. Absolutely tragic. 

  • Lauren April 7, 2016 (5:43 pm)

    What a tragedy. RIP Devin Francis. 

  • Chuck April 7, 2016 (5:47 pm)

    Just awful. I feel particularly bad for the victim, but at 16 it’s hard not to have a whole lot of sympathy for a stupid young kid playing his role of stupid young kid to the hilt.

    I do not think the blame lies with the SPD. Up until the crash the driver seemed to be under control even at a high rate of speed. Regardless, I do not think putting the blame on the cops has any merit.

    My deepest condolences to the families of both parties. Just a tragedy.

    • WSB April 7, 2016 (5:57 pm)

      Chuck – What I noticed re: your second paragraph was that, toward the start of the video, the 16-year-old even used his turn signal before turning onto what I believe the officer says was Trenton (after “passing 12th” you see the gates to Highland Park Elementary on the left). And they are seen to maneuver around traffic circles while heading east on Trenton. At some point after that, he made the fatal (for him and Mr. Francis) decision to try to get away. Please also note that in the most recent update, police say they are not certain whether this suspect was one of the three who carjacked the Accord on Beacon Hill three hours earlier.

  • Ashley April 7, 2016 (5:50 pm)

    This is absolutely ridiculous! I think the cops responsible in this high speed chase should be charged. It is never okay to speed like that around curves and residential areas EVER, it’s irresponsible and endangers others. They should have let it go and used their common sense. I hope something is done about this and that justice is served.

  • willbehonest April 7, 2016 (5:53 pm)

    This makes me sick… that could have been one of my family or girlfriend coming home at that time of night. Good thing it wasn’t…. or I’d be out hunting today. That little punk’s family should be held responsible for their child’s actions… 

  • jissy April 7, 2016 (5:56 pm)

    I hope there are charges brought against the other 2 involved in the original carjacking…. started the chain of events and should be culpable.

  • Jerald April 7, 2016 (5:57 pm)

    I feel sad for everyone (everyone!) involved. The “damn criminal” was a 16-year-old kid with a family, one assumes. The officers must have been devastated. And, of course, the young man with the dog, a tragedy.

  • Highland Park Resident April 7, 2016 (6:06 pm)

    This is really tragic. My deepest condolences for all families involved.

  • 935 April 7, 2016 (6:09 pm)

    Ashley, I hope you never need the police in an emergency…

    It’s part of thier job to get to situations quickly – hence the flashing lights and the noise make-y thing….

  • Highland Park Resident April 7, 2016 (6:10 pm)

    WSB you are correct — The video does start at 16th and Trenton.  The blue house on the corner is very distinctive.   He turns and goes by Highland Park Elementary on Trenton.

  • John April 7, 2016 (6:19 pm)

    Thank you SPD for your work to keep us safe. Being a law enforcement officer entails daily risk to one’s self and is an occupation that deserves more respect. I think the police did the right thing here. My condolences to Mr. Francis. So tragic.

  • ScubaFrog April 7, 2016 (6:24 pm)

    SPD should have called off the chase. 

  • Kira April 7, 2016 (6:26 pm)

    Poor Devin Francis and his dog. R.I.P.

    R.I.P to the 16 year old boy but he should have known better  

  • LB April 7, 2016 (6:27 pm)

    That hill scares me every time I drive up it. 

    RIP guy and his dog.  :(

  • Mutt April 7, 2016 (6:32 pm)

    It must be Monday because everyone seems to know EXACTLY what should have done and how to do it!!  With the collective wisdom you all seem to have I’m sure you could actually prevent ANY and ALL crime from occurring, ANYWHERE…..I’m sure SPD is hiring. 

  • ScubaFrog April 7, 2016 (6:32 pm)

    Chuck, when you rationalize and legitimize a car-jacking,  and a high-speed chases as simple “actions of a stupid young kid”, you insult the entire community.  These aren’t normal actions of a 16 year old.  These aren’t normal actions for a stupid young kid.  The 16 year old killed a man and his dog, terrorized people at the car-jacking, and put the community’s lives at risk.  The 16 year old committed massive, inexcusable crimes – including murder.  Why be his apologist?

    I’ve never known a 16 year old who’s done any of the aforementioned deeds. 

  • JayDee April 7, 2016 (6:53 pm)

    Kudos to the officer for doing his job. The incident only escalates after they hit Highland Park–as many have remarked is difficult to drive normally. At 2:11:49 seconds the pursuit escalates when the SPD car veers into the uphill lane and you can hear him scrubbing his tires to correct.  Barely 10 seconds later the crash occurs.  No second guessing. I am sorry for Devin Francis and his dog, and sorry that the 16 year old’s poor judgement led to this tragedy, because he was only 16. SPD should shoulder no blame on this one, it just escalated very quickly. 

  • AmandaKH April 7, 2016 (6:55 pm)

    That is such a heartbreaking video to watch, I am glad they blurred out the actual scene.  I am so sorry for Devin Francis’ family and friends – please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

    SPD needs to change their policy.  High speed car chases are never okay, it’s just not worth it. 

    • Overthere April 7, 2016 (7:58 pm)

      I think the police should have discontinued this chase, however to say it is never worth it is a ridiculous thing to say.

      • AmandaKH April 7, 2016 (11:18 pm)

        I truly believe that there has to be a better way to handle fleeing suspects.  Chasing after them at high rates of speed should not be it.  What about some kind of high tech gadget that tags the car with GPS so the cops can find the car at a later time?  Blame is too hard of an assignment when the outcome is so tragic. 

      • sam-c April 8, 2016 (9:51 am)

        Even if the police had backed off on the chase, do you think the car thief would have noticed and immediately slowed down to drive the hill and its curves at a more appropriate speed? Who knows?

  • Bill April 7, 2016 (7:01 pm)

    I knew Devin very well. He is one my sons oldest best friends. This is a tragedy that many ws kids and parents are grieving about because Devin was a fantastic human. It is so sad in all the so many ways. All the discussion about SPD policy’s of pursuit, the report about needing more police officers and the danger of highland drive are valid  so I only hope that maybe some change for the good will come out of this so very awful tragic event and that those affected can grieve and then celebrate Devin with their love for him.  Gonna miss you buddy 

  • Withthelaw April 7, 2016 (7:04 pm)

    WSB  Let’s not make easy for would be criminals to know how to evade the police.  Let them research on their own wht SPD policy is.

  • John Murphy April 7, 2016 (7:05 pm)

    Why are they doing a high speed chase down highland park drive. 
    That is worth a review. 

    • Leroy Jenkins April 7, 2016 (9:30 pm)

      SPD please do your job…..as long it looks nice, polite, politically correct, offends no one, doesn’t involve me, no one gets hurt, including animals, no bad language, blood, guts or brains and at the end of my cowardly sheltered day, there is a rainbow!

  • Yeah Right April 7, 2016 (7:11 pm)
    A couple of points to consider with this incident:
     The lead officer that was actually a supervisor/sergeant or acting sergeant  “3 William” so you would have to assume this was a supervising officer well aware of the policy and procedures for initiating and continuing the pursuit.  One thing I am sure the detectives will look into is if this had been a patrol officer would the supervisor had allowed it to continue.   In this case you hear 3 William ask if a lieutenant had been notified which in this case would have the authority (as the sergeant’s supervisor) to terminate the pursuit (you don’t hear a lieutenant on the radio, the call sign is usually “233” in this area at that time of night).   Would a lieutenant had terminated the pursuit? Maybe but it appears to be within policy (stopping a suspect of a felony crime) and the conditions that would usually result in stopping it seems to have not been a factor (clear dry roads, very light traffic, no visible pedestrians, and heading into an industrial area (not a residential or commercial district).  
    The other thing that I think I heard was one of the secondary officers say just as they head down the hill (about 1:33 in the video) 
    3 William  “still northbound”
    Dispatcher  “still northbound” 
    unidentified unit “William  (unintelligible) slow down”
    If that is actually what is said, the radio call likely indicates that at least one officer knew the danger of that corner, not just because of the recent accidents there but about a year ago an SPD officer was in a serious crash (had to be extricated from his car) at about the same location after he lost control while responding to “fast back up” to assist another officer in the South Park area.  
    Very sad situation for everyone involved. 
    • Sunuva April 8, 2016 (1:41 pm)

      Thank you for the extra narrative. I had a hard time understanding the responses from dispatch. It adds a lot of insight for those of us, myself included, who are untrained in this.

  • David April 7, 2016 (7:27 pm)

    Looking at the youtube clip, the cruiser passed holden at 1:25 and passed Othello at 1:32 which is 7 seconds later.  Goofing around a bit with google maps, it looks like the distance from Holden to Othello is 830 feet. How fast was the police cruiser going?

    830ft = 0.157mi (convert feet to miles using 1mi/5280ft)

    7 secs = 0.002 hours (convert seconds to hours using 1hour/3600secs)

    1.57mi/0.002 hours = 78.5 miles/hour

    • joel April 7, 2016 (8:09 pm)

      that was my guess 80 AND the murderer easily pulled away from the cop – 

    • datamuse April 7, 2016 (8:09 pm)

      Huh, earlier I expressed skepticism about how fast they were going. I stand corrected.

  • Kayo April 7, 2016 (7:30 pm)

    My heart goes out to Devin’s family.  What a tragedy.

  • OP April 7, 2016 (7:30 pm)

    RIP, Devin Francis. I have ZERO room in my heart from the thug that killed him.

  • Nien April 7, 2016 (7:40 pm)

    For those who say the police should never chase or engage in pursuit, what if people who stole cars knew that was the policy?  Then people could steal cars with impunity, knowing that all they’d have to do is drive faster and get away scot free        

  • Eric1 April 7, 2016 (8:06 pm)

    First of all, I do feel for the innocent victim in this crime.  However it angers me when people blame the police for doing their job.  Crime needs to be punished or there is no order in this world.  The police do their job but….

    .

    It is 2AM and your 16YO kid is out in a stolen car.   Given this situation, are the parents of the perp going to be charged for negligence and accessories to murder? Furthermore, the other two perps who helped him steal (or handed him the stolen car) need to be charged as accessories as well.  Heck call me for jury duty, I will make myself available.  There is no one to blame here but the kids and the lack of punishment all around.  I doubt that this is their first “mistake” and remember: incarcerated perps can’t commit crimes in public.  

  • heylady April 7, 2016 (8:12 pm)

    My heart is with both grieving mothers and the boys’ loved ones. 

  • CM April 7, 2016 (8:23 pm)

    Maybe this should be addressed directly to Tracy, but that’s essentially a “snuff film” of two people dying.  As someone who’s innocent sister was killed in a similar accident, I think perhaps instead of preaching about who or what did wrong, we might consider the families and loved ones of the innocent, and although the video clip is public domain, maybe it should be pulled from the BLOG.

    I don’t typically expect WSB to post this type of video, I think they’re usually classier than that, and I would also expect the commenters to respect that this shows somebodies’ loved one being killed.  You might as well post the videos of people being beheaded by ISIS, or live action of suicide bombings.

    Yes, the hill is dangerous, but somebody died here, and I do not think it’s appropriate for us to watch the video of it and play armchair quarterback.  Just my two cents.  It’s been 29 years and I still can’t stand the fact that the video is on youtube now of my sister’s death.  These are people, and we should try to be compassionate.  CM

    • Oakley34 April 7, 2016 (8:40 pm)

      I did not watch it out of reasons of sensitivity (my own) but its posting informs the public about the realities of police work and engenders public debate and discussion, which is an important public service. 

    • cjboffoli April 7, 2016 (11:27 pm)

      CM: To compare the video footage of a police chase to a snuff film is unfair and inappropriate. This video is news that is a reflection of real events in the real world.  To “pull” this video is to obscure the truth.  Any adult disturbed by events like this can elect to not watch the video or to not read the story.  Otherwise, the notion of “pulling” the video is a kind of censorship of the news and that’s a very slippery slope.  This is not entertainment. Nor it is an interactive  “choose your own adventure” novel. 

      Over the past eight years I have personally witnessed the WSB editors exercise a great deal of professionalism, good judgment and sensitivity in reporting the news, balancing sensitivity to victims with the public’s right to know.  I feel that the posting of this SPD footage is no exception.
      • ltfd April 8, 2016 (12:56 pm)

        Well stated.

    • Lauren April 8, 2016 (6:59 am)

      This police-released video is evidence for what is now a police investigation that deeply concerns many people in West Seattle, and this blog is one of the leading local news outlets in the region. I have no words for you comparing this to posting an ISIS propaganda video. I am deeply sorry however for your tragic loss of your sister. Everyone has triggers that remind them of terrible events in their lives and in my experience it’s best to actively avoid them for yourself but not expect them to be censored for everyone else. 

    • Shawn April 8, 2016 (8:24 am)

      You should probably look up the ACTUAL definition of “snuff film”.

      Better yet, let me google that for you: “A pornographic movie of an actual murder.”

      You’re welcome.

  • Kc April 7, 2016 (8:36 pm)

    Kudos to SPD in a very tragic incident! Every action has an equal an opposite reaction. The pursuit was in no traffic dry pavement hellecopter not available stolen car.  The officers job is to serve and protect

    and then we second guess to the way it is done. Shame on you this was cause not caused by the officer in pursuit. none of this happens if the car was not stolen or the kid pulls over the moment the lights and siren kick on this does not end the way it did none of this happens thank you to each and everyone of one of SPD’s officers you are trained to to be the ones running in to help when everyone else is running out

    I personally never miss an opportunity to to an officers “thank you for your service and to be safe out there”

    you are right this did not need to happen

    it started when the car was stolen

    and was going to end badly when the car did not pull over

  • Morgan April 7, 2016 (8:56 pm)

    Healing thoughts to the innocent victim’s family, RIP Devin and pup.  Thank you Seattle Police for all that you do.  It’s a tough job.

  • shaoleung April 7, 2016 (9:06 pm)

    Tragic situation on so many levels. As an educator in the community, I find myself in discussions of discipline several times a day. Nothing as horrific as this of course, but the dynamics involved are similar.

    While no one has verbalized it on this post, I am sure many readers have an image in their head of what the 16y/o, suspected carjacker looks like. Many readers make assumptions of this kid’s motivations and where he comes from. What his parents must be like and the kinds of grades he gets in school. Some may be true but many are based in our own biases.

    I think it’s important to remember that identifying who is at fault or who is to blame should not overshadow the fact that no one deserved to die in this situation. It’s  a situation symptomatic of problems in our broader community. It is definitely shocking that a 16 year old kid can get a weapon, then use that weapon to steal a car, then end his own life and that of others within a span of hours. How does this happen???

    We should consider: what kind of insane, traumatic life do you have to lead to get to 16 and make such a fatal series of decisions? What part of our community failed? Most people say, “The parents.” I agree to a point, but I also teach many kids who don’t have parents or don’t have parents that are equipped to guide them the way many of us were guided. So do we just continue to blame all the crappy parents out there, or do we start to talk about what safety nets and supports we can implement as a society to make up for the undeniable fact that many kids just don’t get the support they need at “home” no matter how much we want to blame their homes?

    We will gain nothing from this incident by blaming the kid or the SPD. If the community is committed to doing something about the problem, we have to treat it like these spring-time daisies and get to the root of the problem.

    • Lauren April 8, 2016 (7:01 am)

      excellent points.

    • Angela April 8, 2016 (9:10 am)

      Thank you for so eloquently and compassionately stating what has been going through my head through this whole thing.

  • DriverDean April 7, 2016 (9:08 pm)

    Just a note here.. When you drive down a hill you are actually increasing the mass and energy of your vehicle even if you don’t add any more speed. Essentially, you are being pushed by gravity down the hill although your speedometer does not register this added force. That’s why people mis-judge down hill turns, they just look at the speed and think it’s not that fast but fail to take into account the additional forces acting on their movement. 30mph on that hill is prolly like 40+ on flat ground.

    • chemist April 8, 2016 (10:34 am)

      That’s not right, at least by the terms of physics you’re using.

  • KBear April 7, 2016 (9:13 pm)

    Commenters, it is possible to be concerned about more than one thing. One’s stated concern about one issue should not imply a lack of concern about others. It is also possible to have empathy for all parties involved. The distribution of blame is completely separate. 

  • David April 7, 2016 (9:19 pm)

    Thank you WSB for posting the video. There’s been all of this talk nationwide about police cameras and how police departments need to be more transparent with the public, so access to video like this is appreciated by many, including me. That being said, it is hard to watch. I didn’t enjoy it, but I think things like this deliver a sometimes much-needed dose of reality to expose people to the doings of the criminals in our communities and what the police have to deal with on a daily basis to protect the public (including the members of the public that unfortunately despise them), putting their lives on the line to do so. This video confirms that the criminal in the stolen vehicle is 100% to blame for this tragedy.

  • CM April 7, 2016 (9:23 pm)

    True point, Oakley34, but it could have been edited to moments before the actual crash.  Should it have shown the efforts of SPD trying to revive the victims?  That’s really not a pretty scene, trust me.  I just think out of respect, maybe that video clip is a little too long.  But the attempted revival part is still on camera from SPD, so I’m just questioning the editing.  Not WSB’s editing, just overall.  SPD rarely releases to media the full video of live action deaths, I’m just surprised this one went so far.

    Sorry, it’s personal.  The person who killed my sister was a cop, over legal BAC, without lights or sirens, but still in a squad car.  He was not charged with any crime.

    I just don’t think snuff films are appropriate and show a lack of compassion from those that release them to public domain.

    • Lauren April 8, 2016 (7:07 am)

      CM I’m surprised you were able to watch this given your personal experience, but since you did… did you notice the wrecked cars were completely blurred out in the video? Also, the reason the video concluded when it did is because the end of that video contains a lot of relevant evidence, like the distance the cop car was following from, and the audio in the cop car the moment they arrived on the scene of the crash.  The police investigation will center on the decision to pursue-that’s why it ended right when the pursuit ended, not before or after.

  • Margaret Hunt April 7, 2016 (9:24 pm)

    OMG…this is so sad.  RIP to the innocent victim and his dog.    

  • Chris April 7, 2016 (10:03 pm)

     What a sad waste of life. RIP to all the victims. Too many kids living for street CRED and reputation. 

  • robert April 7, 2016 (10:43 pm)

    I thought the police acted reasonably. It was tragic for all, including the 16-year old. It is hard to judge a 16-year old, especially not knowing his circumstances and mental state. My heart goes out to all, including the police and all three victims. 

  • Tony April 7, 2016 (10:47 pm)

    How many innocent lives is it worth to waste with police chases?

    My answer is: close to zero! … At least in a civilized world!

    Please justify any higher number with very specific rules.

    I think most agree to apprehend “bad guys”, but what rules compel for the rush to kill innocents in the process?

    • AMD April 8, 2016 (7:33 am)

      There’s no “rush to kill innocents”, there’s a rush to save the innocents that will be affected by an armed and dangerous criminal who is allowed to drive the streets of Seattle unchecked when there is a blanket policy of non-pursuit.

      It’s a judgment call.  The only “perfect” solution is to not have crime in the first place.  It’s not as black-and-white as you make it out to be.

    • ltfd April 8, 2016 (1:00 pm)

      Tony, how many innocent lives is it worth to waste with criminal behavior?

  • Alki Resident April 7, 2016 (10:58 pm)

    A candlelight vigil is suppose to be held Friday nite at 8pm at the crash site. With so many friends that Devin had, my concern is how dangerous it could be having so many park, walk and stand next to the road. Would police be able to shut down one lane out of respect for the deceased victim and give these kids a few moments to reflect? Please?

  • Mmf April 7, 2016 (10:59 pm)

    Shaolueng: Something important to ask ourselves (among other things) 

  • Tony April 7, 2016 (11:08 pm)

    Another comparison is how we have rules not to park at fire hydrants.

    What do you think is more dangerous: speedy car chases or zero velocity

    parked cars that can be pushed away or hoses routed around in extremely rare cases?

    Our “civilized society” apparently rules excessive speed OK, but calmness not.

    • David April 8, 2016 (12:02 am)

      I hope you realize (but judging from your comment, it seems you don’t) that in the time required to “push away” a parked car, someone could be burning alive. In a fire even a few seconds can be the difference between life and death. And it’s disturbing to think that there are people out there willing to potentially contribute to someone’s horrific death just so they can park in front of a fire hydrant. By the way, if there’s a car parked in front of a hydrant, they don’t “route around” it. They break the windows of the car out (as they should) and feed the hose through the car so that it aligns straight onto the hydrant connection.

  • as April 7, 2016 (11:36 pm)

    Are you kidding me!!??  This cop thought it would be a good idea especially to chase someone down this road!!??  WTF?  Why can’t they call in reinforcements to try to catch this person down the way??  Wsb, when is the next meeting to provide feedback and ask questions about these situations?  Seeing this video and knowing what happened to Devon saddens and sickens me and we need to be heard!

    • WSB April 7, 2016 (11:58 pm)

      AS – the next meetings at the precinct with a focus on crime and safety, and with police in attendance, would be the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at 7 pm Tuesday, April 19th, and the WS Block Watch Captains Network at 6:30 pm Tuesday, April 26th.

    • Leroy Jenkins April 8, 2016 (12:55 am)

      As (s) how do you know so much about law enforcement and how its application? Are you, or have you ever been in law enforcement. Have you ever put your life on the line for others; family, friends? How about strangers, criminals–they call the police too–? I’d truly like to know. If the answer is no to all or even most of my queries, it seems your comments don’t hold water. It’s easy to voice or write a comment that lacks any validity.  

      You wrote that you can’t read through ALL these comments, “because I know what I’ll read”?  No, you won’t read them because some may actually contain the truth that you already know but don’t want to face. Why don’t you actually LEARN something about the service [SPD] you are paying for! You pay for a service and you don’t even know how it operates! I suppose that’s why cars have gas gauges and oil lights….Take a Civics class , learn something.

    • ltfd April 8, 2016 (1:05 pm)

      For anyone seeking to place blame, it falls on the deceased 16 yo criminal.

  • as April 7, 2016 (11:51 pm)

    I can’t even read through all your responses  because I know what I’ll read.  We shouldn’t live in fear due to this stretch of road.  Cop should have stopped when it went this way.  Shame on him.  How are spd going to explain this???

    • David April 8, 2016 (12:20 am)

      SPD will explain it very clearly and easily – the tragedy was caused by a criminal, and would never have happened if the carjacking never happened in the first place. Period. The criminal was 100% to blame, despite what all the anti-police commenters on here think. The criminal would have sped down Highland Park Way and murdered Devin whether the police car was in hot pursuit or not. As soon as those blue and red lights started flashing on the police car, the criminal sped off on his getaway route, which he would’ve sped off on whether the officer stayed right on his tail or not. Do people on here really think this criminal would have just casually cruised away if the police car fell back? No, a criminal who knows he’s been spotted is going to speed off to get as far away as possible. The same crash would have happened.

  • Almutt April 8, 2016 (12:20 am)

    I find the video and the high speed chase through our neighborhood incredibly disturbing.  The SPD certainly had every legal right to pursue the carjacker – but look at the cost! In my mind, the alleged crime does not justify the risk of a high speed chase.

    So what if the carjacker had gotten away that night. Eventually, he would have located and arrested w/o incident once the drugs wore off.  Most of these crimes are committed under the influence.

    I’m also disturbed because that could have been easily been me driving up that hill or any one of us in West Seattle.

  • Kash April 8, 2016 (1:14 am)

    This is just horrible poor devin bro may your soul rest in peace this video was super tough to watch 

  • JanS April 8, 2016 (1:35 am)

    so many people condemning the police, yet most of them have no condolences for the victims at all..priorities, people. Let the hangings go til another day. The family could be reading your comments…at least throw in a bit of compassion while you’re complaining.

    A tragedy all around…wasted lives…:(

  • fred armstrong April 8, 2016 (2:23 am)

    Please stop calling armed thugs whose actions have led to the loss of innocent life, a “boy” simply because of his age.

    This is not the act of a “boy”.

    fwa

  • wcroy April 8, 2016 (5:04 am)

    To one of the most kind hearted people I ever met, RIP Devin . Sorry to the family for your tragic loss

  • Joe April 8, 2016 (5:55 am)

    I have lived on 9th ave for 16 years and have seen a number of bad wrecks on Boeing hill, perhaps it is time for a jersey barrier on that curve.  How many wrecks and lives will it take?  Also cut the overhanging trees before someone gets killed

  • anonyme April 8, 2016 (6:39 am)

    I’m usually skeptical about the necessity for car chases, but this one seemed reasonable.  It was an armed suspect, and it was 2 am – if it had been 2 pm, it would have been a different story.  As for the “snuff film” comment, the actual collision was not shown, and appeared to be obscured afterward on the film.  It’s understandable how cops feel they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

  • Melissa April 8, 2016 (7:06 am)

    Alki Resident-  Can you contact the SW precinct with the details.  If you don’t get an adequate response call the Mayor’s office.

    Is there other ways the community can help to keep the kids safe?

  • Tony April 8, 2016 (7:11 am)

    David, breaking windows to save lives is TOTALLY acceptable!

    Windows are replaceable, lives not.

    (I had 2 windows broken downtown by thieves and the city even profited 

    collecting sales tax instead of spending money to protect my windows).

    I am comparing risks we “accept”.  Or should “accept”.

    Take ANY hydrant parked car, how may innocent lives are at risk for the next 1/2 hour?

    Take ANY police chase, how many lives are at risk …

  • Sunuva April 8, 2016 (7:44 am)

    I wish I hadn’t watched that knowing that innocent man and dog died at the end. What a mix of emotions. So mad at the criminal, so sad for the loss of life. My condolences to the family of the innocent victim whose young life was stolen from him.

  • Mr. B April 8, 2016 (8:11 am)

    Can we please stick to the facts:  The 16 year old is guilty of carjacking with a firearm, eluding police, murder and extreme cruelty to an animal.  Only in America do we try to shift blame away from the criminal and onto someone else.  There’s only one person responsible for this horrific crime spree.  

  • AN April 8, 2016 (8:54 am)

    One Split Second!!!! Not one car on the road until that split second…..innocent young man just beginning life’s journey. My son’s age, went to school with him. My heart aches for the parents, I can not imagine what they are going through.

    RIP  

    Loss of faith :( 

     

  • sara April 8, 2016 (10:26 am)

    My condolences to Devin and his dog… this is heartbreaking.

    The amount of time spent talking about whose fault it is when a 16 year old acts like this could be better utilized by every single one of us being a big brother or big sister…actually giving our time to support at-risk kids in the community.

  • 22Blades April 8, 2016 (10:36 am)

    All this… lives cut short for, among many reasons, a used car.

    I can be critical of our police as many others, however, I believe the officer did a good job in following versus chasing the criminal. The distance seemed appropriate & I saw diligence in intersections. Let’s not forget, the officer was the first responder to the scene; a gruesome scene by anyone’s standards.

  • Enviromaven April 8, 2016 (11:44 am)

    My heart goes out to all who have been impacted by this tragedy – the families of the victims, the police officer(s) and first responders involved, and the community members who are reliving their own traumas as a result.  Ongoing thanks to the WSB for thoughtful reporting…it can’t be easy. 

  • A stranger April 8, 2016 (5:43 pm)

    Very sad to see an innocent young man lose his life to a low life scumbag car jacker. I feel for the family and friends of Devin. This incident was entirely the fault of Kenneth Dion Williams, Jr. No one else. He’s the one that willfully and intentionally held a gun to someone, a threat to the first innocent victim’s life, forcing him to give up his car. Then he willfully and intentionally fled from police, police doing their job, stopping someone with now 2 deadly weapons, a gun and a car.  This again put innocent people in danger. Clearly he didn’t care. He continued until he finally killed someone. And this final act of violence Kenneth Dion Williams, Jr. also lost his own life. Some are blaming the police, “This is absolutely ridiculous! I think
    the cops responsible in this high speed chase should be charged. It is
    never okay to speed like that around curves and residential areas EVER,
    it’s irresponsible and endangers others. They should have let it go and
    used their common sense. I hope something is done about this and that
    justice is served.” 
    I could not disagree more. This is a guy with a gun, threatening people’s lives. It wasn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN he would kill someone. The police did their job. I applaud them in this specific case to do their best to protect us from this guy. No, it didn’t work out with a good outcome. But what do you tell people by letting gun carrying thugs, they have a “Get out of Jail free” card if they get in a car and take off? Devin Francis wasn’t killed by the cops. He was murdered by the carjacker. Rest in peace Devin. 

  • Seolajo April 8, 2016 (5:58 pm)

    That was awful. I think if I was the family of the young man and his dog killed by this chase, I would not want to see it like this.  Thank you for sharing, but this is the reason that high speed chases are NOT worth it unless there is someone in that car that is in eminent danger. Sick now. Over a stolen car?

    • Community Member April 8, 2016 (6:51 pm)

      But the chase wasn’t over a stolen car. The police chase was because there had been a robbery at gunpoint. 

  • J April 8, 2016 (6:11 pm)

    The police chase should have been stopped immediately. All of the cars that were passed on the opposite side of the street was incredible for that time of night. That is why it should have been called off. It was too dangerous for all the innocent people on the road.  My family has  known Devin all his life from the time he was a little boy.  He was a wonderful young man who loved his dog. He was only 21 and was not married and had no children. He is gone now and will never get to experience all that life has to offer, he did not deserve any of it. I am angry and do not understand why a 16 year old young man was out at 2am in the morning. Where was his supervision? Where were his parents? Why wasn’t this chase called off? If only, If only, it will not bring Devin back. People need to be held accountable. A through investigation needs to to happen. That officer needs to lose her job. Bad decisions were made. Police are supposed to be professional, cool under pressure and the ability to make split decisions that are smart and proper and that did NOT  happen. Bless Devin and his family and may GOD REST HIS SOUL. This is a sad sad time for all of Devin’s family and friends, but worst of all a young man lost his life by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

  • Pam April 8, 2016 (8:02 pm)

    This is so awful for everyone, these boys were just so young.  It is sad that Kenneth ended up making these choices at such a young age and sad that Devin was a victim of those choices.  I hope their families can eventually find some peace, it will be a long time coming. 

  • Kathy Mayeda April 9, 2016 (7:57 am)

    I was one of Kenny Williams’ teachers.  I loved that kid.  He was funny and talented and had a good heart.  His mom did the best she could.  She is a good, super caring and hard-working woman.  As teachers we use the meager resources that we have available to us to fight against the low expectations of our society for a few hours every day for dozens of kids.  For parents this is a constant, incessant worry and battle.  

  • SN April 9, 2016 (11:14 am)

    They should change Highland Park to be two lanes uphill and only one lane downhill, similar to what was done on Renton Ave.  in Skyway for similar reasons.   Merge into one lane downhill at the top and then expand it back to two lanes at the bottom, like Renton Ave.  Use the space for a median/barrier area.

  • Marianne April 9, 2016 (2:22 pm)

    It looks like one of Devin’s friends has set up a Go Fund Me page to help the family pay funeral expenses.

     https://www.gofundme.com/hsy3jb4s


  • Jason April 9, 2016 (9:01 pm)

    I knew Devin and he was an amazing person. Hard to believe he’s gone but I know he’s in a better place now. No compassion for this 16 year old scum bag. People are making excuses because of his age? I was 16 and dumb once but didn’t own a gun and steal cars. He took an amazing person out of this world. Rest easy Devin.

  • Joe April 9, 2016 (11:27 pm)

    To recover a $10,000 object and arrest a low level criminal, SPD engaged in a high speed chase that resulted in the death of two young people.

  • Carl April 10, 2016 (10:29 am)

    I drove past this on the way to work that morning, there are somethings we just can’t forget and seeing both cars there all smashed up gave me pause.  The next morning two of my boys asked if had heard about this accident.  Yes I saw it, …. It was Devin Francis.  I tried to take them to the scene to let them grieve but there were what looked to be family members having a very hard time.  Another image I cannot forget.   I didn’t know this young man well, my kids did.  We build cars, he built cars, I am sure even though he had no time to respond, he probably did all he could to avoid this.  Why don’t we have the name of the murderer? 

    I support LE, but I do not support high speed chases.  People have said, the suspect was armed and might have done other things.  So, Well he didn’t, and the maybes just don’t add up to the reality of the Murder of Devin Francis.  RIP young man. 

    • AMD April 10, 2016 (11:23 am)

      WSB added the name of the 16-year-old at the end of the story once it was released.  His name was Kenneth (Kenny) Dion Williams, Jr.

      I think it’s easy to pass judgement based on what did happen.  Had he gotten away and carjacked or killed someone else, the conversation would have been blasting the police for not pursuing him.  There’s really no “right” answer without being able to see the future.  

  • Marie April 12, 2016 (11:27 pm)

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of both young men  

    to to some of the commenters – a 16 year old is still a child

  • Lynn April 21, 2016 (6:01 pm)

    The police did not chase someone who stole a car.  The police chased someone who had held someone at gunpoint, and then stole a car.  Would you really want the police to simply let the person go?  Do you really want someone who would hold up another person using a gun, running around your neighborhood?  I don’t think that the police had much of a choice at this point, but to try to catch the person.  A GPS, as someone mentioned, would only show them where the car was left.  It would not necessarily helped to get the person (s) off the streets!

    As far as the “thug” goes, he was a 16 yr old boy. He has siblings/relatives who live in the West Seattle area, and who attend school there.  Those kids had nothing to do with any of this.  Lets try and be at least a bit respectful for Kenny’s relatives.  They also have a son/sibling,  to bury.  Kenny made a horrific decision when he drove the car that night.  (remember, we don’t know that he had anything whatsoever to do with the theft at gunpoint).  He paid for it with his life.  Its so unfair to blame his parent (s) for any of this.  Even the best parents can raise a child who breaks the law.  The way someone  is parented is not the only thing that makes a person who they are.  Genetics, society, mental illness, there are all sorts of things that contribute to how someone ends up.  My thoughts are with both families, and the person who was held up by gunpoint.

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