Hundreds light candles in honor of fallen Deputy Robert Kunze

Local

It was an emotional night Tursday at the Law Enforcement Memorial in downtown Wichita as hundreds gathered to honor Fallen Sedgwick County Deputy Robert Kunze. 

“He was just one of those men who put on the uniform everyday, came out and did his job and did it very well,” said Sheriff Jeff Easter of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office as he spoke to the crowd.

“He could just light up a room when he walked in and just smiled and just take over,” said Amy Osburn, one of the organizers of Tuesday’s candlelight vigil and a friend of Deputy Kunze. “He had such a great positive attitude. It’s hard to explain just the feeling you get from him.”

Deputy Kunze was able to light up the Wichita sky even in his death as hundreds of candles lit the corner of the Law Enforcement Memorial, reminding us that while his life as well as other fallen officers, may be over, his memory is not. 

“The flame is burning for their life, the flame is burning to remember them,” said Ashley Stepe, a Wichita resident. “And then, the wax that drips down I believe is the tears that are shed.”

Support came in all forms, including a line of riders representing the Patriot Guard, that surrounded the stage with flags raised high. 

“For myself to be here today, I just want to let the local law enforcement officers and their brothers and sisters know that I appreciate them and I love them,” said Terry Houck, captain of the Kansas Patriot Guard.

That love didn’t fall short Tuesday night, as people left Deputy Kunze and his family with the message that during this time, they are not alone. 

“As a community joined together in support for his family and for the sheriff’s office and the Wichita Police Department and then expand that to all the communities across the state and the United States, it’s just a tribute that not only we should do, but we just want to,” said Osburn. 

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