Sunday marks 1-year anniversary of Sonny Kim's death

Remembering Sonny Kim (VIDEO)
Kim owned a karate center on Reading Road. (Photo provided by Vinson Lewis)
Kim owned a karate center on Reading Road. (Photo provided by Vinson Lewis)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Sunday marks one year since the city lost Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim.

Kim was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to reports of a man with a gun in Madisonville June 19, 2015.

"Despite Police Officer Kim's valiant struggle, the suspect was able to gain control of his service weapon," said former Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.

The suspect used Kim's gun to fire at the third responding officer, a Cincinnati Police specialist. The specialist was able to "stop the threat, secure the suspect and maintain the scene," described Blackwell.

Kim, a father of three boys, received 21 commendations during his nearly three-decade career. He also owned a karate center on Reading Road and taught classes for adults, teens and kids.

The veteran police officer is remembered as a devoted family man and enthusiastic law enforcement veteran, a South Korean immigrant who adopted a city that was not his own, but one in which he leaves a proud and unforgettable legacy.

Thousands of people – including law enforcement from across the country and from local agencies - packed Xavier University's Cintas Center alongside residents and Officer Kim's students from his karate studio to say their final goodbyes last year.

This weekend, the inaugural "Sonny Kim Martial Arts Showcase" kicked off and gave children from the West End neighborhood an opportunity to see and learn karate moves.

"To bring martial artist not just one particular martial art but all martial artist in general to come celebrate the life of this hero, this spectacular martial artist," said Committee member John Ritter.

Assistant Chief James Whalen, a 29-year veteran of the police department who knew Kim his entire policing career, said the officer dedicated his life to patrolling the east side of town, primarily in District 2.

"He was a fantastic policeman," Whalen said. "He was exactly the kind of police officer this city and this country needs right now. It's just a tragedy, a tremendous loss."

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