City Desk June 24-30

The Cincinnati Police Department on June 19 lost its first officer in the line of duty since 2000. Cincinnati police officer Sonny Kim, 48, was shot and killed by a gunman in Madisonville as he responded to a 911 call about a man with a gun acting errati

Jun 24, 2015 at 11:58 am

Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim Killed in the Line of Duty

The Cincinnati Police Department on June 19 lost its first officer in the line of duty since 2000. Cincinnati police officer Sonny Kim, 48, was shot and killed by a gunman in Madisonville as he responded to a 911 call about a man with a gun acting erratically.

Kim encountered 21-year-old Trepierre Hummons at the scene with a gun and told Hummons to drop his weapon. Police say Hummons moments before had texted friends about his plan to commit “suicide by cop” and placed the 911 call himself to lure police to him. Hummons shot Kim and wrestled his gun away from him. Hummons began shooting at other officers on the scene, who returned fire and killed him.

Kim’s killing comes as the city struggles with a high-profile increase in gun violence. After a precipitous decrease over the past few years, and even as other crimes continue to decrease, shootings have rocketed up to a 10-year high in the past few months.

City Manager Harry Black earlier this month asked Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell to draft a 90-day anti-violence plan for the department. Blackwell’s plan, released last week, calls for more officers in places where children play and in “hotspots” around the city where shootings occur, curfew enforcement and other measures designed to reduce violence. Blackwell announced that plan would be delayed for two weeks following Kim’s shooting.

Officer Kevin C. Crayon, the last CPD officer killed in the line of duty, was thrown from a moving car in 2000. He was attempting to stop a 12-year-old who was operating the vehicle. The last shooting deaths of CPD officers occurred in 1997, when officers Daniel Pope and Ron Jeters were shot and killed while trying to arrest a man in Clifton Heights.
Hummons was the 29th person killed by police since 2000. His parents expressed confusion and shock at his actions, saying that Hummons was just a few weeks away from leaving for the Navy. Friends report that Hummons had recently been in an altercation with his girlfriend that had left him distraught. He had also just learned of a pending sexual assault charge against him, a charge some in his family say was a false accusation.

The community has come together to try and help Kim’s family in their time of need. A GoFundMe account started by Mason Police Association President Derek Bauman has raised more than $100,000 for the Kim family. University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono has announced Kim’s three sons will receive free undergraduate tuition at UC should they choose to go there.

Blackwell called Kim “one of our best,” citing the numerous commendations he received during his 27 years on the force. In his off time, Kim, a resident of Evendale, ran a karate dojo in Symmes Township. Mayor John Cranley has asked Cincinnatians to wear blue Friday, June 26 in memory of Kim.

Kim’s visitation will take place 2 p.m. June 25 and his funeral will be held 10 a.m. June 26. Both will be held at Xavier University’s Cintas Center and will be open to the public. Kim will be buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery on Montgomery Road.

Council Poised to Approve Big Bucks for Developments

City Council’s budget and finance committee on June 22 approved two big deals with developers that could provide millions in city funds for new parking garages, apartments and retail space.

The committee approved pushing more than $6 million in tax incremental financing into building a parking garage in Oakley, and also approved another $7 million in financial assistance for a 130-unit apartment complex, parking garage and retail space downtown.

The 383-space garage in Oakley would serve Oakley Station. The TIF-funded garage comes in a deal with developers Al Neyer and USS Realty, who will give the city the land for the garage. The city will pay the developer for the construction of the garage and lease the facility to them for 35 years. Neyer and USS will have the option to buy the building during that time, or purchase it from the city for $1 after the lease expires.

TIF money takes property taxes from nearby new developments and reinvests those funds in other projects in the area instead of flowing them into the city’s general funds. The city must own a property to use TIF funds on it; thus the lease structure.

Cincinnati Economic Development Director Oscar Bedolla says the garage will help increase density in the area and is for public, not private, use.

Oakley Station was developed by Vandercar Holdings, owned by Oakley developer Rob Smyjunas. Smyjunas declared personal bankruptcy in 2011, but Vandercar’s development of Oakley Station continued under financing from other investors. The development just announced Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield as its first office tenant.

The budget and finance committee also approved a deal that would give more than $7 million in financial assistance to a downtown project at Eighth and Sycamore streets. That deal involves the development of a $35 million, 130-unit apartment building by North American Properties. The city will kick in a $3.5-million grant for the developer as well as $1.8 million in tax abatements for the project.

In addition, the city will loan the Cincinnati Central City Development Corporation $2 million to build a parking garage and retail space as part of the deal. 3CDC will pay back that loan over the course of its 35-year lease. The development will create four full-time and 24 part-time jobs worth about $2.2 million in income taxes.
City Council is expected to take a final vote and pass both deals June 24.