Sedgwick County deputy, suspect fatally shot during arrest

Posted: Updated:
SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) -

A veteran Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy was killed in the line of duty as he was attempting to arrest a suspect. 

Deputy Robert Kunze III died at St. Francis Medical Center on Sunday after responding to a report of a suspicious character near Garden Plain.

Sheriff Jeff Easter said witnesses reported a suspicious person in a black truck who was near one of their pickups and two ATVs. They followed the suspect as he left and Deputy Kunze arrived in the area of 21st Street North and 295th Street West to find the suspect vehicle with the hood up and a vehicle belonging to the witnesses.

"We know that Deputy Kunze, when he approached him (the suspect), he patted him down and he found a weapon in his waistband," Sheriff Easter said. "Deputy Kunze placed that weapon away from the two of them...went to handcuff the suspect and a fight ensued."

Another deputy arrived at the scene at around 1:50 p.m. and found Deputy Kunze and the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Robert Greeson, unresponsive on the ground.   

Greeson died at the scene. Sheriff Easter said Greeson was also wanted for stealing a truck and a larceny where a 40-caliber gun was stolen. A 40-caliber gun was found at the scene. 

Deputy Kunze, 41, joined the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office in 2006. Prior to that he worked for the Shawnee County Sheriff's Office. He is survived by his wife and one child.

Kunze is the ninth Sedgwick County sheriff's officer to die in the line of duty. The last was Deputy Brian Etheridge, who was shot to death in September, 2009.

Kansas Department of Corrections records show Greeson has prior convictions of drug possession and distribution as well as aggravated battery. He was last paroled Greeley County in December and his post-release expired June 8.

A Critical Stress Management Team will be on hand to assist deputies and other sheriff's office employees this week, and a candlelight vigil is planned for Tuesday evening.

Cards and messages can be sent to the sheriff's office at 141 W. Elm, Wichita, KS 67203 

Statement from Attorney General Derek Schmidt

“The tragic line-of-duty death today of Deputy Robert Kunze reminds all Kansans once again of the dangerous but indispensable public service given by law enforcement officers each and every day. Our prayers go out for Deputy Kunze’s family and for all the men and women of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office at this difficult and heartbreaking time.”