ID 92471884 © Dorothy Merrimon Crawford | Dreamstime.com

Kansas Deputy & Suspect Fatally Shot

Deputy Shot While Making Arrest

September 17, 2018 - 12:51 pm
Categories: 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A 12-year veteran of a Kansas sheriff's office and a suspected vehicle thief were fatally shot when a fight broke out during the suspect's arrest in a rural area of Wichita, authorities said.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said Deputy Robert Kunze was shot Sunday afternoon after receiving a call about a black truck that had been stolen. He said the 41-year-old Kunze was "an exceptional deputy."

When Kunze arrived at the scene about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of downtown Wichita, he found the hood open on the black vehicle. Kunze patted down the suspect's waistband and found a 40-caliber handgun. The gun was placed away from the two of them, but a fight ensued when Kunze tried to handcuff the suspect, Easter said at a news conference Sunday.

Easter said Kunze's service weapon was discharged, but investigators don't know how many shots were fired or if the suspect's handgun was fired too. Kunze was able to use the emergency button on his portable radio to summon help. Another deputy arrived about a minute later, and two witnesses hiding nearby said shots had been fired. The deputy found Kunze and the suspect on the ground. A 40-caliber handgun was found next to the suspect, whose name and age has yet to be determined.

Kunze had been shot once in his upper torso above his ballistic vest, Easter said. The suspect was shot in his upper torso and waist. Kunze died at a hospital, while the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooting is under investigation. Easter said the deputy's vehicle was equipped with a dash camera but that footage was not yet available.

He said the suspect has been linked to several crimes in the area on Sunday — the theft of a .40-caliber weapon, a silver vehicle and the black truck. He said there are no other suspects in Kunze's death, but that there may be more suspects in the other cases.

Easter described the deputy's death as a "tragedy," saying Kunze "worked with great pride, loved and encouraged the people who worked with him, but most of all he loved his family." Kunze had a wife and child.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office posted a badge covered with a blue and black mourning band on its Facebook page to remember Kunze.

"We will always remember him for his smile, his contagious laugh and his ability to engage anyone and everyone in conversation," Easter said.

 

All contents © copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.