Sheriff Jeff Easter, of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department in Kansas, sadly reports the death of Deputy Sheriff Robert Kunze.
Deputy Kunze, 41, responded to a suspicious person call in a rural area of the county. Upon his arrival, he made contact with a male subject with the engine hood up on the pick-up truck. Another truck was facing it, which was occupied by the caller reporting the suspicious situation.
When Kunze contacted the suspect, he patted him down and located a .40 caliber pistol in his waistband. Kunze seized the weapon and commenced to handcuff the suspect.
During the suspect’s arrest, the man resisted and a struggle ensued. The suspect was able to arm himself with a weapon and a gun battle followed. Kunze was struck once in the chest above his ballistic vest. The suspect was struck twice in the abdomen and chest. Kunze was able to notify dispatch that he had been shot.
A minute later Kunze’s back up arrived and located both the suspect and Kunze unresponsive on the ground. The suspect was handcuffed and medical aid was given to Kunze.
The two persons in the truck that witnessed the exchange of gunfire also came to Kunze’s aid.
An ambulance transported Kunze to Via Christi Hospital, St. Francis Street location where he later died of his gunshot wound. The suspect died at the scene.
It was later determined that the pick-up truck and the .40 caliber weapon possessed by the suspect were both stolen earlier in the day. Kunze had investigated the larceny of a weapon from a vehicle earlier in his shift. It is believed that the stolen gun and the weapon used in his shooting are one in the same.
Sheriff Easter said Kunze was a “great asset to the sheriff’s office” and that he was always available at a moment’s notice. Easter said he “worked with great pride” and “most of all, loved his family.”
Robert Kunze served the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department for 12 years in a variety of capacities. He was trained as a field training officer, crisis intervention specialist, crash reconstruction specialist, crime scene technician and radar speed detection instructor.
Kunze had previously served the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Department for six years. His wife and child survive him.
“We will always remember him for his smile, his contagious laugh, and his ability to engage anyone, and everyone in a conversation. Deputy Kunze will be absolutely missed and we ask for you to please pray for him and his family,” said Sheriff Easter. “Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has suffered a great loss today and a life altering tragedy for Deputy Kunze’s family.”
Deputy Sheriff Robert Kunze is gone, but will never be forgotten.
EOW: Sunday, September 16, 2018