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Vigil held for woman killed by Seattle police car, family remembers her as 'brilliant' and 'bubbly'

Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, was hit and killed by a marked Seattle Police Department vehicle while walking in a crosswalk on Monday night.

SEATTLE — A vigil was held Friday for Jaahnavi Kandula, the 23-year-old woman who was hit and killed by a marked Seattle Police Department vehicle on Monday.

On the night of the collision, officers responded to the scene at Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street after 8 p.m., according to police. Kandula was crossing from east to west in the crosswalk when she was hit.

Officers provided CPR to her until Seattle Fire Department medics arrived and took her to Harborview Medical Center, where she later died. The officer was responding to a "priority one" call at the request of the Seattle Fire Department, according to SPD.

The group Critical Mass held a ride and vigil Friday to honor the young woman.

The group set up a memorial and held a moment of silence at the crosswalk on Thomas and Dexter where Jaahnavi Kandula was hit and killed.

“Tonight's case I think highlights how danger can come from any corner of our city even those who are tasked with protecting us are choosing to create actions that kill people,” said cyclist Joe Hand.

“If you look around the message is pretty clear that these streets are to be shared. Cyclist pedestrians and anyone outside of a car is to be respected,” Hand said.

SPD said in a statement Thursday, “We acknowledge that there is understandably tremendous interest in the surrounding facts, but for purposes of both preserving the integrity of the investigation and respecting the family’s right to privacy, will not be putting out information over and beyond what has already been provided. We will provide all publicly releasable information, including the report, once we are able to do so, and in consultation with the family.”

Family of Kandula's released a statement that read, in part: 

"We are truly heartbroken. Jaahnavi was a brilliant student with a bright future. Jaahnavi's smile was radiant,  and her bubbly personality warmed the hearts of every person she came in contact with. She had an innate ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Jaahnavi's tragic and untimely death has left her family and community with a huge hole in their hearts that will never be repaired. She was a daughter to a single mother who teaches elementary school in India. In spite of earning less than 200 USD per month, her mother educated Jaahnavi and encouraged her to the United States hoping Jaahnavi would have a better future and a better life abroad. Her mother's hopes and dreams are cut short now."

The family added that they want closure and more information about what led up to the accident.

Kandula was a graduate student at Northeastern University and was scheduled to graduate in December.

CEO of Northeastern University's Seattle campus David Thurman released a statement that read, in part:

"Jaahnavi demonstrated strong analytical abilities in large-scale data management and a passion for resolving technical issues.  She worked as a Junior Executive at CAMTek Solutions for two years examining technical and artistic outputs.  Additionally, she worked as an Administrative & Events Assistant on the Seattle campus, supporting event management and providing administrative help. Jaahnavi is remembered as a stellar student and a delightful and effervescent human being. She was a close friend to many and friends shared that they loved her bubbly laugh, sense of humor and infectious personality.  Her loss will be felt deeply by students, staff, and faculty across campus."

The Seattle Police Department's Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is leading the investigation into what led up to the collision. Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call 206-684-8923.

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