Patrolman Kimberly Sue Tonahill

Patrolman Kimberly Sue Tonahill

San Diego Police Department, California

End of Watch Friday, September 14, 1984

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Kimberly Sue Tonahill

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.


  • Age 24
  • Tour 9 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Committed suicide

suspicious vehicle

Most Recent Reflection

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38 years ago officer tonahill and her partner (not sure of his name) pulled my friend and i over for verbal driving altercation with some navy guys and ended up putting us in the back of their squad car and handcuffing my right hand to the car. they took us to station as i believe we were on main ocean road, somewhere near ocean beach i think. we were all kind of joking as there was no fight or driving violations and i had been eating potato chips in the back seat. about a month later im at a convenience store in not the best neighborhood and she was there outside in uniform, so i said hi and she was like i remember u u were eating potato chips in the back seat! "what are you doing in this area?" as in i was 21 just trying out san diego with little money. she was very nice, and in our brief encounters, although professional, there may have been some slight flirting. maybe a month later i see the story on tv news. i think of her from time to time. and that picture up top makes me teary eyed


May 1, 2022

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