Police Officer Sonny Kim Cincinnati Police Department, Ohio End of Watch: Friday, June 19, 2015

Police Officer Sonny Kim | Cincinnati Police Department, OhioCincinnati Police Department, Ohio

Police Officer Sonny Kim

Cincinnati Police Department, Ohio
End of Watch: Friday, June 19, 2015

Biographical Info

Age: 48
Tour of Duty: 27 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: June 19, 2015
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Shot and wounded

Agency Contact Information

Chief Jeffrey Blackwell
Cincinnati Police Department
310 Ezzard Charles Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45214
Phone: (513) 765-1212

Police Officer Sonny Kim was shot and killed after responding to a 911 call reporting that a man was behaving erratically at the intersection of Roe Street and Whetsel Avenue at approximately 9:30 am.
Shots were exchanged upon Officer Kim’s arrival at the scene and both he and the subject were shot multiple times. Officer Kim was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.
Officer Kim had served with the Cincinnati Police Department for 27 years.

CINCINNATI — He was known as a "tough" and outstanding officer in Madisonville but now an officer’s community is in mourning after he was gunned down in the line of duty.

Cincinnati police Officer Sonny Kim, 48, a husband and father of three boys, died after being shot while responding to a call of a gunman acting erratically Friday morning.

Officials said a vigil in Kim’s honor will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the Arts Center on Whetsel Avenue in Madisonville.

Kim, a 27-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department also worked as the owner and main karate instructor at the Japanese Karate-Do dojo in Symmes Township.

“CPD lost one of our best today," Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said. "We lost a brother, but right now my heart is broken more for his three boys who lost a father and his wife who lost a husband.”

City Manager Harry Black called Kim a hero.

“Our thoughts our prayers go to Police Officer Kim’s family and fellow police officers. … Police Officer Kim dedicated himself to serving and protecting the city for 27 years. … He has had a decorated career. … Officer Kim is a hero.”

Councilman Yvette Simpson said Kim exemplified what it means to be a community officer.

Kim’s record with the force paints a picture of an officer who had great initiative and resolve and also care for the public.

Some of the comments in his file of particular note include instances where Kim apprehended a man armed with a knife, peacefully resolved a standoff situation and rescuing a man who jumped from an I-275 bridge.

City officials sent out a list of his commendations including the following:

  • 10/8/89: “Commend you for your rapid response and professional action, in which you were able to apprehend a stabbing suspect with weapon in hand.” From William Miller
  • 7/13/94: “Commended for peacefully negotiating with a man who barricaded himself in building on Montgomery Road.” From Lt. Col. Bruce Knox, Patrol Bureau Commander
  • 1/10/96: “Commendation for unselfish and dedicated service during the January 1996 blizzard.” From Capt. Daniel J. McDonald
  • 8/11/97: “Chief’s commendation for keen observations and professionalism in taking charge of a potentially fatal/suicidal situation.” From Michael C. Snowden, Police Chief
  • 10/31/97: “Commendation for assistance in locating a wanted person who had eluded police officers. The teamwork and diligence are in the highest traditions of the CPD.” From Captain James T. Smith
  • 9/12/05: “Thanks and commendation for the immediate action and resourcefulness you displayed during the rescue of a man who jumped from I-275 bridge.” From Lt. Colonel Richard L. Junke, Police Chief (Acting)

Cincinnati city officials said Kim grew up in Chicago after immigrating to the United States. He moved to Cincinnati in 1986 to attend the University of Cincinnati. Kim was accepted into the Police Academy in 1987.

He was promoted to Police Officer in May 1988 after graduating the academy. Kim was assigned to District 4 at the start of his career and was transferred to District 2 in 1989. He worked in District 2 for 26 years.

Police officials said he earned 22 commendations during the length of his career. Kim’s captain described him as “tough.” He was most recently awarded the Department Award for Exemplary Conduct Award and the Safe Driving Award in 2013.

Kim was a lifelong karate practitioner who started training at the age of 7 in Korea. He detailed his experiences in martial arts in an interview with The Shotokan Way .

Kim told interviewer Shaun Banfield that he originally started with Korean Karate before transitioning to Japanese Karate after moving to Cincinnati.

When asked if he felt karate had a place in the modern world, Kim spoke about his experience as a police officer.

“As a police officer, my philosophical concept of Ikken Hissatsu [meaning to ‘kill with one blow’] is simply the mindset of a winning attitude.  When I train new police recruits, I explain this concept of Ikken Hissatsu to them as it relates to their personal safety.  Ikken Hissatsu is the winning attitude and survival mindset.  When taking an aggressive action against your opponent that maybe attempting to assault or kill you, you must win! — Ikken Hissatsu!  As you can see, Ikken Hissatsu is simple and complex at the same time,” Kim said.

Banfield went on to ask how Kim dealt with stressful situations as a police officer.

Kim responded saying, “As a police trainer we have a saying which is, ‘You will perform how you train.’ One must train hard and under pressure in a realistic environment.  In the USA, most of our police tactical training deals mainly with firearm encounters.  Having an assailant with a firearm will put you under some emotional and physiological duress. 

point I want to make is you must also train your karate under pressure, consistently and physically hard to have a better chance to overcome and survive under duress.”

Kim reached the level of sixth dan or “rokudan” during his time as a martial arts instructor. He was also an instructor and examiner for the World Traditional Karate Organization .

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1 Response to “Police Officer Sonny Kim Cincinnati Police Department, Ohio End of Watch: Friday, June 19, 2015”


  1. 1 Adolph C. Namlik, Chief of Police, Ret. June 19, 2015 at 17:03

    My sincere condolences and prayers go out to the family and fellow officers of Officer Sonny KIm of the Cincinnati Police Department.
    Respectfully,
    Adolph C. Namlik
    Chief of Police, Ret.
    Gowanda, N.Y.


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