A man who fatally shot one Cincinnati police officer in June was intent on killing many more, not seeking “suicide-by-cop,” a county prosecutor said on Wednesday.
Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Deters told a news conference that the case was closed in the fatal shooting of Officer Sonny Kim, 48, by Trepierre Hummons, 21, and responding police Specialist Tom Sandmann’s subsequent killing of the suspect.
“I would give Officer Sandmann an award,” Deters said. “He saved other people.”
Former Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said initial reports suggested a case of suicide-by-cop, but Deters said on Wednesday that the final report showed otherwise.
Deters said the night before the shooting, Hummons was accused of rape by a girlfriend and told his mother he did not want to be known as a registered sex offender. His mother told police that Hummons was acting strangely the next morning.
Deters said Hummons sought to lure officers by calling 911 and telling dispatchers a man matching his own description was carrying a gun and acting erratically. Kim responded.
Hummons’ mother was walking her dog when she encountered her son on the street, Deters said.
Kim approached with a Taser, and Hummons’ mother approached the officer, unaware her son had a handgun, Deters said. She told Kim her son was unarmed and that she would talk to him.
Hummons pulled a handgun from his back waistband, went around his mother and shot Kim three times, Deters said. The fatal shot passed between the ribs on Kim’s bullet-resistant vest and struck his pulmonary artery.
Deters said the wound was “a horrible piece of luck.” The odds against the bullet’s slipping between the ribs on the vest were astronomical, he said.
Hummons, who had picked up Kim’s weapon, fired it at Sandmann as the specialist arrived, Deters said. Sandmann fired 16 or 17 shots, striking Hummons twice and killing him, he said.
Deters said Hummons’ attacks on Kim and Sandmann did not fit with a suicide-by-cop theory.
In a video from Sandmann’s dashboard camera provided to reporters, Hummons can be seen walking past his mother, who is kneeling over Kim’s body. Hummons appears to fire at Sandmann’s car and then react to being struck by a bullet before moving off-camera.
(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Editing by David Bailey)