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Fallen Officer Sonny Kim Honored With Highway Memorial

sonny kim memorial
Jennifer Merritt
State reps Brigid Kelly and Jonathan Dever address the crowd, including Kim's family, front row, during the unveiling of the sign that will be mounted on I-71 in the fallen officer's honor.

A former Cincinnati police officer shot and killed in Madisonville three years ago now has a stretch of I-71 named after him.

The Sonny Kim Memorial Highway is northbound and southbound I-71 between the Dana Avenue exit and the Montgomery Road exit in Hamilton County.

"He made our community stronger, brighter, safer," State Rep. Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) told a room full of mostly police officers at the Madisonville Recreation Center. "He was a man who everyone knew. Everyone who met him enjoyed his presence; everyone who knew him was better off for it." 

sonny kim memorial
Credit Jennifer Merritt / WVXU
Police officers lined up in the back of the room at the Madisonville Recreation Center to pay tribute to fallen Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim.

Dever and Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) co-sponsored the House bill that proposed the idea, which also dedicates seven other portions of Ohio highways to emergency and military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Kim served as an officer in Cincinnati for nearly three decades. He died June 19, 2015 when responding to a call in Madisonville of a man walking around brandishing a gun. It was later determined he had been purposely lured there by 21-year-old TrePierre Hummons. Hummons was shot and killed by Officer Tom Sandmann. 

"There's hardly a day that goes by where we don't remember Sonny and the sacrifice he made," Police Chief Eliot Isaac said, addressing Kim's wife, Jessica, and two sons in attendance. "We miss him every day, and this is a great way to pay homage to a true American hero." 

sonny kim memorial
Credit Jennifer Merritt / WVXU
Jonathan Dever, Brigid Kelly and Police Chief Eliot Isaac reveal a replica of the signs mounted on parts of I-71 in Hamilton County in Kim's honor.

Kim's friend and colleague, Cincinnati Police Chaplain John Keuffer III, told the crowd how Kim mentored kids through a karate program he ran at the Madisonville Recreation Center, where a room is now named in his honor. Keuffer and Officer Buddy Blankenship spoke in Columbus to help get the bill passed.

"I'm so appreciative to Jessica to allow Sonny to give us this time away from his family to do that for other kids," he said. "It's a blessing to be back in this room and really feel like he's here with us."