‘I couldn’t get there fast enough’: Deputy Robert Kunze remembered 1 year after being killed


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Monday marks one year since Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Kunze was killed in the line of duty.

Kunze was responding to a suspicious character call near Garden Plain when shots rang out. He returned fire, killing the suspect, but lost his own life from his injuries at the hospital.

“I have been through one, two, three, four, five (deputy deaths) and Robert marks six,” Lieutenant David Hein said. “I have been through six officers lost.”

“There is only one Robert Kunze. There is only one of his sense of humor. There is only one of how he did things.”

It is a day that Hein’s memory can’t escape.

“It was red lights and sirens,” Hein said. “I couldn’t get there fast enough. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I lost one.'”

Not much has changed in the patrol room where Deputy Kunze once started his workdays. Standing in his place is a wooden American flag and a portrait of the fallen deputy.

This portrait of fallen Deputy Robert Kunze and an America flag carved from wood with a thin blue line stand in place of the deputy in the office where he once worked.

Kunze answered to First Line Supervisor Lt. David Hein, who decides where deputies will go for their patrols. He said Kunze most liked the “eight beat,” which was far from town.

“To be the one sitting up there and telling them, ‘This is the area you are going to work today,’ and then they (do) not come home – it does play on your emotions,” Hein said.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I lost one.'” Lieutenant David Hein, once Deputy Kunze’s supervisor, oversees deputy beat assignments. He has worked at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office during six officer deaths.

The marked SUV Kunze once drove still runs. It sits in the lot with the others, still marked with his name, still driven by his partner.

“Robert Kunze was loved by his co-workers on the shift because he had a great sense of humor,” Hein said. “He had the biggest smile. You can never fill that.

“There is only one Robert Kunze. There is only one of his sense of humor. There is only one of how he did things.”

To honor Kunze, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office wore special black bands around their badge on Monday, the anniversary of his death – Sept. 16, 2018.

KSN wishes our best to the family of Deputy Robert Kunze III. This video made for the first anniversary of his death is made from sound we gathered in the days following his death.


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