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Fallen Deputy Robert K. Kunze III, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas

2018 State and Local Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Recipient

On September 16, 2018, Deputy Robert K. Kunze III was dispatched to a suspicious character call in northwest Sedgwick County. The call indicated a homeowner had located a subject attempting to start an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on his property. The ATV had broken down so the homeowner helped him get it started. Feeling that the subject had possibly been trying to steal his property, the citizen followed the subject while his wife made a call to 911. The subject’s vehicle broke down again near the intersection of 21st North and 295th West.

Deputy Kunze advised dispatch that he had located the calling party, who had his daughter with him, and the suspect. Deputy Kunze questioned the suspect and became aware of inconsistencies in his story. He asked the suspect if he had any weapons on him, and the suspect said he had a handgun in his waistband. Deputy Kunze removed the gun from the suspect and placed it in the bed of a pickup. Deputy Kunze told the suspect to place his hands behind his back and moved in to make the arrest. The suspect began to actively resist and ended up pushing back toward the bed of the truck where the gun lay. Deputy Kunze activated his emergency button on his radio. The suspect retrieved the gun and shot Deputy Kunze. Deputy Kunze fell back, but then he got to his feet, drew his weapon, ran toward the suspect, and returned fire. The suspect was struck and ended up dying of his wounds at the scene. Deputy Kunze was transported to hospital in extremely critical condition and succumbed to his wounds a short time later.

The suspect in Deputy Kunze’s murder has since been tied to multiple crimes in Sedgwick County. At the time of contact, he was concealing a stolen firearm, and though the crime had not yet been discovered, the truck he was driving had been stolen as well. The handgun the suspect was concealing had been reported as stolen earlier that morning, and Deputy Kunze had taken that report. Since the firearm is very distinguishable, it is believed that Deputy Kunze recognized it as the stolen gun. Deputy Kunze knew this individual needed to be arrested, and he fought valiantly to make that arrest. Even though he had received a wound that would prove fatal, Deputy Kunze pulled himself to his feet, pursued his assailant, and fired his weapon with incredible accuracy until the suspect went down. When the medical examiners were told what Deputy Kunze did after he was shot, they said this could not have been humanly possible.

Deputy Kunze’s actions demonstrated extreme bravery and courage while consciously facing immediate personal danger.

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