CINCINNATI (AP) — Police officers from around the country turned out Friday for a slain Cincinnati officer’s funeral, where city officials, family and colleagues spoke of his devotion to duty and love for his family and his city.
Hundreds of people packed Xavier University’s Cintas Center to honor 48-year-old Officer Sonny Kim. Police say the 27-year veteran was killed June 19 by an armed suspect who had made 911 calls and was seeking “suicide by cop.” The suspect was killed by police.
Sidney Police Officers Mike McRill and Kevin Macke were two of the officers in attendance for the funeral. Both McRill and Macke are members of the Sidney Honor Guard.
McRill said many of the department’s officers wanted to attend the services but were unable to because of manpower needs for the city.
“Chief (Will) Balling told us if we wanted to go, we could,” said McRill Sunday afternoon. “This is the second service I have attended for an officer killed in the line of duty.”
The first was when Clark County Deputy Suzanne Hopper was killed on Jan. 1, 2011. He has also attended funerals for two fellow officers who passed away in Shelby and Auglaize counties.
Since he had attended the Hopper funeral, McRill said he knew what to expect this time.
“Having gone to Deputy Hopper’s funeral, I knew there were officers from Canada and the West Coast there,” said McRill. “I was pleasantly surprised and it gives you a great feeling of support from the community.”
The funeral procession from the Cintas Center at Xavier University in Cincinnati to the Gate of the Heaven Cemetery, passed tens of thousands of people, said McRill. The procession traveled 22 miles.
“We drove 20 to 30 mph,” said McRill. “At no place was there more than 100 foot gap between the people standing. We drove through the business district and saw men standing there in their three-piece suits and women dressed up.
“There was one school that was in session and they had all their students standing outside,” he said. “People had their hands on their hearts.”
McRill said the show of support for Kim and his family was heartwarming after all the negative publicity about police officers across the country.
“With the news media from places like Ferguson, to see the outpouring of support for law enforcement (in Cincinnati) is just incredible,” said McRill.
During the ceremony, Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black called Kim a “true hero” and a model police officer.
Mayor John Cranley said the shooting was an act of evil.
“We have a lot of questions for God today. Our faith is being tested,” Cranley said. “Why did the good guy lose?”
Kim grew up in Chicago and moved to Cincinnati in 1986 to attend classes at the University of Cincinnati, police said. He was appointed as a Cincinnati police recruit and assigned to the police academy in 1987. Kim was promoted to the rank of police officer in 1988 and received 22 commendations in his career.
Kim loved Cincinnati and its people and was proud to serve them, said his brother, Mickey Kim.
“He was so proud to wear that uniform,” he said. “He was so proud to be part of that fraternity.”
A funeral procession accompanied a caisson carrying the flag-covered casket to a cemetery north of Cincinnati for a private burial.
The procession went through the heart of police’s 2nd District, where Kim spent much of his time on duty.