(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) — A candlelight vigil will be held Sunday night in Kansas to memorialize the two sheriff’s deputies who were shot and killed when an inmate overpowered them outside a courthouse.
Kansas City Mayor David Alvey said the vigil, which will take place in front of City Hall at 8 p.m. local time, will be the start of a long and trying healing process for the community of Wyandotte County, which just two years ago mourned two police officers who also was fatally shot.
Alvey said the community is feeling “deep sadness,” “fear,” “anger” and “shock that this happened again.”
“Yesterday was a terribly tragic day for two of our young, bright, committed sheriff’s deputies — Theresa ‘T.K.’ King and Patrick Roher,” the mayor told reporters at a press conference Saturday, before holding a moment of silence to honor the slain deputies.
“As they say, heroes are never forgotten,” he added.
King, 44, and Rohrer, 35, were shot Friday morning about 11:30 a.m. local time as they were about to transport two inmates from the Wyandotte County Courthouse in Kansas City. Both inmates were handcuffed and shackled at the time, according to Maj. Kelli Bailiff of the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office.
Bailiff said the deputies were following protocol when the deadly altercation occurred.
Few details have been provided so far, but authorities said one of the inmates — who hasn’t been identified — overcame the deputies in a gated area outside the courthouse.
Bailiff said it’s very possible the deputies were shot with their own guns. There is surveillance video of the scene.
The deputies called for backup, but it was too late. Both were rushed to University of Kansas Medical Center, where Rohrer died and King was in critical condition before succumbing to her injuries some 12 hours later.
The suspect was also shot and taken to a hospital. The individual was in stable condition Saturday, according to Kansas City Police Chief Terry Zeigler.
The other inmate was unharmed.
King, who served the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office for 13 years, leaves behind three children. Rohrer, who had been with the department for seven years, had two children of his own.
“These were two bright and intelligent, wonderful personalities,” Bailiff said of her fallen colleagues. “They came to work every day with a smile, willing to help out, willing to do anything. It’s a tremendous, great loss to our agency.”
Charges have not yet been formally filed with the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office.
Two years ago, two police officers were fatally shot within three months of each other in Kansas City, the county seat of Wyandotte County.
The year before, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wood was shot at a convenience store but survived.
“It seems like Wyandotte County has really been hit hard recently,” Bailiff told reporters. “It’s also a time for us to bond together as a community, and I think we begin that by being at the candlelight vigil.”
“Let’s just love one another,” she added. “Go home and hug your family members because you never know what tomorrow will bring.”
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