CINCINNATI (AP) — Police responding to an emergency call exchanged gunfire with an erratic armed man on a city street in a shootout that left him and a longtime officer dead, authorities said.
Officer Sonny Kim, a decorated 27-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department, died along with the man involved in the Friday morning shooting in the Madisonville neighborhood, police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said.
“Our hearts are broken,” Blackwell said, choking back tears. “We lost a brother.”
Details of the gunfight and what preceded it were sketchy. Blackwell said officers were called to the scene and a struggle broke out in the middle of the street. He said investigators know multiple shots were fired between the man and the responding officers but don’t know which officers fired or how many rounds were fired.
Kim, 48, leaves behind a wife and three sons. He was wearing body armor during the shooting, authorities said.
“Today is a tragic day for all Cincinnatians,” Mayor John Cranley said in a statement.
Blackwell would not release the identity or any details about the man involved in the shooting.
The shooting came nine days after Cincinnati police released a plan for dealing with a recent surge of gun violence in the city. The police chief said then that shootings were up 28 percent over the same period last year.
Police said Kim grew up in Chicago and moved to Cincinnati in 1986 to attend classes at the University of Cincinnati. He was appointed as a Cincinnati police recruit and assigned to the police academy in 1987.
Kim was promoted to the rank of police officer in 1988 and received 22 commendations in his career.
“CPD lost one of our best today,” Blackwell said.
Officers consoled one another at the shooting scene and at the police department.
Kim’s supervisor, Capt. Jeff Butler, spoke briefly while struggling to control his emotions.
“Sonny Kim was the consummate policeman,” Butler said. “He cared about what he did. He cared about his people.”
Ohio Fraternal Order of Police President Jay McDonald said the group’s 25,000 members joined Cincinnati police in mourning Kim.
“This is just the latest chilling reminder of how dangerous police work is and how police are targeted for violence,” McDonald said.
Funeral arrangements for Kim had not been released.