Sheriff: Wounded Kansas deputy saved lives before dying
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A wounded Kansas sheriff’s deputy managed to kill his attacker and likely saved the lives of two witnesses before he collapsed and died from a gunshot wound, according to a Kansas sheriff.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said Tuesday he has no doubt that Deputy Robert Kunze “prevented loss of other life” when he shot 29-year-old Robert Greeson. Investigators say Greeson shot the deputy during a confrontation on a rural county road Sunday afternoon, The Wichita Eagle reported .
Kunze responded to a report about a man in a stolen black truck who was lurking around two all-terrain vehicles and another pickup truck about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of downtown Wichita.
Investigators said an adult and a teen had followed Greeson and were present when shots were fired as the 41-year-old deputy arrested the convicted felon. A bullet struck Kunze above his protective vest during the fight.
The two witnesses were standing or hiding just feet away when the shooting occurred. The sheriff said Kunze easily could have turned on the witnesses, passing motorists or officers rushing to the scene.
“Without a doubt in my mind, he (Kunze) prevented loss of other life because of the two witnesses standing there” when the shots rang out, Easter said. “They’re witnesses to (the suspect) murdering a sheriff’s deputy. That puts them in harm.”
Greeson had an extensive criminal history , including a conviction for aggravated battery. He had committed a carjacking the night before the shooting, Easter said.
Emergency radio traffic showed Kunze telling a dispatcher in a strained voice, “I’ve been shot.” Easter said those were Kunze’s last words over the radio.
A preliminary investigation determined that when Kunze patted down Greeson, he found a gun in the suspect’s waistband and moved it away. When Kunze began handcuffing Greeson, the two started fighting. Easter said it was too soon to release more details from the investigation.
Kunze, a 12-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, received first aid at the scene and treatment afterward. He was pronounced dead after being taken to a Wichita hospital.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com