Thousands gather to pay respect to Officer Sonny Kim - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Thousands gather to pay respect to Officer Sonny Kim

Services for Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim will be Thursday and Friday at Cintas Center at Xavier University. (FOX19 NOW/file) Services for Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim will be Thursday and Friday at Cintas Center at Xavier University. (FOX19 NOW/file)
(Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW) (Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW)
(Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW) (Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW)
(Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW) (Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW)
(Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW) (Source: Megan O'Rourke, FOX19 NOW)
EVANSTON, OH (FOX19) -

Thousands of people lined up outside the Cintas Center Thursday to pay their respects to Officer Sonny Kim.

The open visitation Thursday gave the public the opportunity to honor Officer Kim, a 27-year law enforcement veteran and married 48-year-old father of three teenage sons who was killed in the line of duty last week.

No more than 500 people were allowed in the room at one time.  

Outside Officer Kim's viewing waved a flag, emblazoned with a thin blue line. A symbol of the tight-knit law enforcement family and the brotherhood now aching with grief.

"I worked with Officer Kim we were police officers in District 2. The morning of the event my thought was 'wow officer Kim and I have made calls on this very street, this very block of Wetzel.' The whole thing is just really sinking in," said Assistant Chief Dave Bailey. 

A devastating loss for the Cincinnati Police Department, that brought hundreds of officers from police departments all over the Tri-State, and beyond here today. A small sacrifice they say for a man who gave all.

"I know that people are coming from Connecticut, New York, Florida, Colorado, California, Washington," said George Pille with the Fraternal Order of Police

Pille thinks that officers could represent at least 48 states and Canada, as Kim will be laid to rest Friday.

"Miles mean nothing. He is our brother and so we needed to be here. Our Chief, he is retired from here, and he termed it as a personal loss," said Lt. Mark Ponichtera, of the Dayton Police Department.

And it wasn't just police who came to pay respect.

Even before the doors opened at 2 p.m., a long line wound into the parking lot outside the Cintas Center.

Among the mourners, politicians, community members -- even kids who he worked with while teaching Japanese Karate.

Chris Flick brought his two sons -- whom he says Sensei Kim made a life lasting impression.

"It's a total loss. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just when we reflect...from the way you behave to the way you treat others. The way you do things at school and in life," said Flick. "Even, when not in uniform Kim gave all. A dedicated public servant---who spent 27 years serving the city and died protecting it."  

The last people to leave the Cintas Center were his brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

After five hours of public visitation, the only way into the Cintas Center was with a police badge. For an hour, the private Fraternal Order of Police ceremony honored Sonny Kim.

The uniforms may be different colors, blue, black, gray, but they're all here for the same reason. To say goodbye to one of their own.

"The brotherhood of law enforcement is alive and well. At the end of the day, we know that we have each other's back," Blackwell said.

It's that kind of support from the cops and the community that Chief Blackwell believes best defines Sonny Kim.

"He was a great man. A great father, great leader in the community. And then, he was a great police officer, as well," Blackwell said.

Officer Kim's funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the Cintas Center, followed by a 14-mile motorcade procession with more than 500 law enforcement vehicles and 200 motorcycles to Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Montgomery.

The public is invited to line the procession traveling north along Montgomery Road.

Burial will be private.

Police say someone was arrested near the property during the viewing. That person was charged with illegal conveyance of a gun near a school, that being Xavier. 

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