Seattle, WA – An off-duty Seattle police officer was killed while trying to help the victims of a multi-vehicle crash as she was on her way home from work on Sunday night.
The incident occurred on Interstate 5 southbound near South Forest Street at approximately 1:20 a.m., when the Seattle Police Department (SPD) officer came upon the scene of a 10-vehicle crash, KCPQ reported.
She was later identified by SPD Assistant Chief Tom Mahaffey as 38-year-old SPD Officer Alexandra “Lexi” Brenneman Harris, The Seattle Times reported.
Officer Harris got out of her vehicle and was helping those involved in the collision when another motorist crashed into her, KCPQ reported.
The driver who hit Officer Harris remained at the scene, but someone else stole the injured officer’s personal vehicle and sped off, according to the Washington State Police (WSP).
Investigators recovered the abandoned stolen car on Sunday morning, The Seattle Times reported.
The suspect is still on the loose, according to MyNorthwest.
“It really speaks to where we are as a society, where we have such callousness when it comes to loss of life,” WSP Captain Ron Mead told reporters during a press conference in Bellevue later in the day.
— DeborahHorne (@DeborahKIRO7) June 14, 2021
The WSP is handling the ongoing investigation into Officer Harris’ death, The Seattle Times reported.
Her father, Laird Harris, said he was not at all surprised to learn that his daughter died while trying to help others.
“It was typical Lexi,” he told The Seattle Times. “It was in her nature. I’m sure her major thought was getting people out of danger.”
Laird said Officer Harris always went out of her way to treat other people with compassion.
“She would stop in the streets and talk to the homeless people,” he told the paper.
Officer Harris was involved in the SPD’s Wellness Unit, which focuses on officers’ mental and physical health, and also started her own podcast to focus on “improving the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Laird said.
She served the SPD for five years, The Seattle Times reported.
Chief Mahaffey said Officer Harris’ death has been a “devastating” blow for the SPD.
“It’s very difficult for all of us,” the chief told MyNorthwest. “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…”