Suspect identified in killing
Updated at 12:20 p.m. Sept. 17, 2018
By Sam Jack
The Sedgwick County Sheriff deputy killed Sunday afternoon has been identified.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter told reporters Sunday evening that Deputy Robert K. Kunze III was killed in the line of duty near the intersection of 21st Street South and 295th Street West, about 3-1/2 miles north of Garden Plain.
Kunze was 41 years old, and a 12-year veteran of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to his employment in Sedgwick County, he spent six years with the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect in Kunze’s death was identified as Robert C. Greeson, age 29. Greeson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Easter said that the suspect is apparently linked to three other crimes that occurred within 24 hours of the shooting, and within a small radius of the rural Sedgwick County spot where the shooting took place.
In one of those crimes, Kunze himself responded to a report of a larceny to a vehicle at 9:22 a.m. this morning. A 40-caliber handgun was reported stolen.
That handgun was later found on the person of the unidentified suspect. It is not yet clear whether the stolen handgun was fired during the violent encounter.
Deputy Kunze was shot once, and the suspect was shot twice.
The other two crimes linked to the suspect were both vehicle thefts.
Easter said Kunze’s death has the entire sheriff’s department and county government grieving.
“We will always remember him for his smile, his laugh and his ability to engage anyone and everyone in a conversation,” Easter said. “Deputy Kunze will be missed, and we ask you to pray for him and his family.”
Kunze leaves behind a wife and child.
As reported earlier, the initial call came in around 2 p.m. Sunday. Sheriff’s officials provided few details during an afternoon briefing near the scene of the shooting in western Sedgwick County.
Multiple police vehicles could be seen in the distance for some time after the shooting. Roads in all directions were closed a mile away from the scene of the shooting and were to remain closed overnight and into Monday morning so that efforts to collect evidence could continue.
Officers from many different law enforcement agencies responded and served as traffic control, including officers from the Wichita and Maize police departments as well as the Kansas Highway Patrol.
Kunze’s death was not officially reported until Sunday night’s briefing, but a number of agencies offered condolences to an unnamed following deputy late Sunday afternoon. Those agencies included the Sumner and Harper County sheriff’s departments and the Wichita Fire Department.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt offered his condolences on Kunze’s death.
“The tragic line-of-duty death today of Deputy Robert Kunze reminds all Kansans once again of the dangerous but indispensable public service given by law enforcement officers each and every day. Our prayers go out for Deputy Kunze’s family and for all the men and women of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office at this difficult and heartbreaking time,” Schmidt said.
Sunday night’s briefing took place around 9 p.m. Sunday in downtown Wichita. Sunday’s media briefing is available on The Times-Sentinel’s Facebook page.
Additional reporting by Travis Mounts.