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Patrolman Kimberly Sue Tonahill | San Diego Police Department, California San Diego Police Department, California

Patrolman

Kimberly Sue Tonahill

San Diego Police Department, California

End of Watch: Friday, September 14, 1984

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 24

Tour: 9 months

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 9/14/1984

Weapon: Handgun; 9 mm

Suspect: Committed suicide while on death row.

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Patrolman Kimberly Tonahill and Patrolman Timothy Ruopp were shot and killed by an armed suspect at the Grape Street Park.

The officers had located a vehicle in the park that contained two underage females and two males. While Patrolman Ruopp was writing a citation to one male for contributing to the delinquency of minors, Patrolman Tonahill was questioning the other male.

It was unknown to Patrolman Tonahill that the male she was questioning had a handgun concealed on his person. This male suddenly produced his handgun when Patrolman Tonahill began to search him. Patrolman Tonahill was shot in the side in an area where her vest did not protect. Immediately after shooting Patrolman Tonahill, the suspect then fired at Patrolman Ruopp. Patrolman Ruopp was struck in the leg and knocked down. The suspect then ran up to Patrolman Ruopp and shot him in the head.

A third officer then arrived at the park as a matter of routine cover. The officer had heard what sounded like gunshots about a block away from the park. The officer located the victim officers' patrol vehicles, but did not see the officers. When this officer was investigating the situation, the hidden suspect fired at him. Though the officer was slightly wounded, he succeeded in wounding the suspect. The suspect escaped and made his way deeper into the park as arriving police units surrounded the location. When daylight appeared, the suspect was located and arrested for the murders of Patrolman Tonahill and Patrolman Ruopp.

The suspect was tried and convicted of two counts of first degree murder. He was sentenced to death. While he was incarcerated at San Quentin's death row, the suspect hung himself several years after the incident.

Patrolman Tonahill had served with the San Diego Police Department for nine months. She was survived by her parents.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Patrolman Timothy J. Ruopp
San Diego Police Department, California
End of Watch: Sunday, September 16, 1984
Cause: Gunfire

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Most Recent Reflection

I remember this day. I was a young police officer from Laredo Tx vacationing in San Diego. When these brave cops got shot my friend Victor also got shot in Laredo. Victor was a police officer and was killed by a shotgun blast to the neck. Have never gone back to San Diego. Hope all is well with the brave men and women of San Diego PD. God Bless you all.

Retired Police Officer ( 25yrs)
Laredo Police Department
March 6, 2014

 

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