A 27-year veteran of Cincinnati’s police department was fatally shot on Friday morning in a struggle with a suspect who twice called 911 to report a man with a gun acting erratically and described himself, police said.
Officer Sonny Kim, 48, the first to respond to the call, was shot by Trepierre Hummons, 21, who in turn was killed in a gunfight with other officers, Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell told a news conference.
“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.
Hummons fired on a county probation officer who came to Kim’s aid and then wrestled Kim’s service weapon from him while he was lying wounded in the street and used it to fire at a third officer, who ended the gunfight, Blackwell said.
Kim, who was wearing a bullet resistant vest, was shot multiple times, Blackwell said. He was taken to a local hospital as was Hummons, but both were pronounced dead, authorities said.
Blackwell said Hummons’ mother told them he had been having recent troubles with a girlfriend and was not behaving like himself. She said she went out looking for him on Friday morning and found him in the street just as officers arrived, he said.
The incident comes at a time of increased attention on shooting incidents involving U.S. police.
Kim grew up in Chicago and had received 22 commendations since joining the Cincinnati police in 1988, Blackwell said. He is survived by a wife and three sons, he said.
“We lost one of our best police officers,” Blackwell said. “Our hearts are broken,” he added.
The shooting happened in the Madisonville neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio’s third-largest city. A community vigil was planned for Friday night at a neighborhood cultural center.
Matt Strauss, real estate and marketing manager for the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corp., said the neighborhood had until Friday largely avoided an uptick in crime reported in Cincinnati as a whole.
“What makes this so shocking is that we’ve looked at the numbers, we’re one of the safest neighborhoods in town,” Strauss said.