CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati’s police chief says a man suspected of fatally shooting an officer apparently wanted police to kill him in what the chief described as “suicide by cop.”
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.
Police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Trepierre Hummons.
Blackwell said Kim was responding to two 911 calls about a man with a gun. The caller reported that the subject was belligerent and in his early 20s, wearing a white T-shirt with a gun tucked in his waistband.
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“We now know that the caller himself was the shooter of our officer,” Blackwell said at a Friday night news conference.
The chief said Hummons shot 48-year-old Officer Sonny Kim, the first officer to arrive after the 911 calls, and then walked over to where Kim was lying wounded and began struggling with the wounded officer over Kim’s gun. The suspect took Kim’s gun before another officer arrived and a gunfight broke out. Hummons was fatally shot.
Hummons’ mother told police he had been having troubles with a girlfriend and hadn’t been behaving like himself, Blackwell said. He said the mother left the house looking for her son and found him in the street just as officers arrived.
Blackwell said that after the suspect “engaged” Kim in a gunfight, a probation officer then arrived and the suspect began firing at him as well. Police specialist Tom Sandmann then arrived and became involved in gunfight with the suspect.
“Police specialist Sandmann was able to stop the threat, secure the suspect and maintain the scene,” Blackwell said, although he did not identify who fired the fatal shot. He said other officers arrived and began first aid on Kim.
An alleged sex offense had been filed against Hummons earlier Friday morning, and he had a history of criminal trespassing and several traffic violations as an adult, Blackwell said.
The suspect’s juvenile history included aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary felonies, Blackwell said.
“The suspect posted on Facebook just prior to the shooting and sent several text messages to friends indicating or demonstrating that he was planning suicide by cop,” Blackwell said.
Blackwell also said Hummons was a gang member.
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.
Kim, 48, leaves behind a wife and three sons.
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 becoming emotional.
“Sonny Kim was the consummate policeman,” Butler said.
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.
Details on funeral arrangements for Kim were not available Friday night.