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March 1, 2024

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Name of Seattle officer in crash that killed woman released

Officer hit 23-year-old while she was using crosswalk

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A photo of Jaahnavi Kandula is seen with flowers Sunday in Seattle at the intersection where she was killed by a Seattle Police officer driving north while responding to a nearby medical incident. Nearby, a rally saw about 50 gather to protest police violence.
A photo of Jaahnavi Kandula is seen with flowers Sunday in Seattle at the intersection where she was killed by a Seattle Police officer driving north while responding to a nearby medical incident. Nearby, a rally saw about 50 gather to protest police violence. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times) Photo Gallery

SEATTLE — Police have released the name of a Seattle police officer who was responding to a medical call when his patrol SUV hit and killed a 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula last week in a city crosswalk.

Seattle Police Department Detective and spokesperson Judinna Gulpan confirmed in an email to The Associated Press Monday that the officer is Kevin Austin Dave.

Dave was hired in November 2019, according to police. Gulpan did not answer questions about whether he is back to work. Police said last week that Dave would take a release day instead of working his next shift. Release days are part of the department’s officer wellness program after traumatic or upsetting events.

“We are still exploring what — if any — additional details we can release and may be able to provide more information soon,” Gulpan wrote.

Dave was responding in a patrol vehicle around 8 p.m. Jan. 23 when Kandula was hit while walking in the crosswalk in the South Lake Union neighborhood, The Seattle Times reported.

Police officers and firefighters attempted CPR, but she died later that night at Harborview Medical Center, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. Her cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries.

The Seattle Police Department said online that the officer was responding to a priority one call, which is the highest priority and involves a threat to life.

A Fire Department spokesperson told the newspaper that the call was an aid response for a 28-year-old man, who was evaluated and then declined to be taken to a hospital.

Detectives from the police department’s traffic collision investigation squad are leading an investigation, police have said.

Kandula, a student at the Northeastern University campus in South Lake Union, was working to earn a master’s in information systems. She was from Adoni, India, a city in the southern part of the country, her uncle Ashok Mandula told the newspaper.

This intersection was part of an area at one point set to receive a full redesign, but the project’s funding was cut by $2.2 million in Mayor Bruce Harrell’s 2023 budget and not restored by the Seattle City Council.

Harrell called the incident “horrible and tragic” in a statement to the newspaper and said the city would investigate the circumstances leading to Kandula’s death.

Demonstrators who came out in Seattle Friday evening to protest the fatal police beating of a man in Memphis, Tenn., paused for a minute of silence at the intersection where Kandulawas was hit, according to The Seattle Times.

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