In August, friends of Diego Moreno, a Kent Police Officer killed in the line of duty, honored his memory by going skydiving, a plan he had made the day he died.
Moreno, who was killed on July 22 when he was hit in the middle of a high speed chase, has been honored several times since his death. Yet his friends thought that they should make his final wish come true.
According to the official report, “Officer Moreno was struck and killed by a patrol car while deploying spike strips during a vehicle pursuit. The pursuit started after officers began investigating the sounds of gunfire they heard in the area of a mobile home park. They attempted to stop a pickup truck leaving the area, but the driver refused to stop and lead officers on a pursuit along Route 516. Officer Moreno was attempting to deploy spike strips at the intersection of Route 516 and Meeker Street when he was struck by one of the patrol cars involved in the pursuit. The patrol car then crashed into several parked vehicles.”
Chris Nielsen, a friend and colleague of Diego Moreno‘s, who also happens to be a skydiver helped organize the outing along with six others. The friends met at Skydive Kapowsin in Shelton, Washington, and brought along some of Moreno‘s ashes as they boarded the plane.
“So they found a way that they can jump and hold onto that, and be able to release his ashes,” said Renton Police Officer Thaddeus Kerkhoff.
Kerkhoff, who had always been too scared to skydive, decided to join the group to honor Moreno‘s memory.
“I told my wife and said ‘They want me to jump out of an airplane,’ and she said, ‘Do it.’ And that was more of a motto that he had,” Kerkhoff said. “And that’s how you live life.”
Nielsen was one of the officers who helped release the ashes.
“And the photo was great because you can actually see the ashes coming up between us as we were falling so it was a pretty neat capture,” Nielsen said. “So the image, that captures probably one of the proudest moments of my life.”
“It’s hard not to get spiritual about it, but when you see the two of us positioned there, and Diego leaving between us, there’s three of us there,” Nielsen said. “It’s me, Eric, and Diego. And we’re skydiving. It’s cool that he still got to do it.”
If you’re interested in helping Officer Moreno‘s wife and two children, you can make a donation at any US Bank location under the “Diego Moreno Memorial Fund.”