BISMARCK, N.D. — A Bismarck police officer was shot and killed late Friday while responding to a domestic disturbance call about a man threatening a woman with a knife, authorities said Saturday.
Bismarck police have not yet released any names, but the Fraternal Order of Police website identified the officer as Sgt. Steve Kenner.
Two officers responded to the call about 11 p.m. and found the suspect sitting in a van outside a trailer home, police said. As they approached the van, the man shot one of the officers. The other returned fire, hitting the suspect.
The wounded officer later died at a hospital, police said. The suspect, whose name also has not been released, was hospitalized for his injuries in the shooting. A news conference was planned Saturday.
Outside the police station Saturday, two officers lowered the department's flag to half-staff in honor of the slain officer. The FOP on its website described Kenner as being "giant in stature" but said he was known for his "kind and gentle disposition and selfless service to others."
He served on the National FOP Board of Trustees.
Lorne Campbell, a witness to the shooting, told the Bismarck Tribune that he saw two officers run to a parked van across from a trailer park and then heard shots.
"They yelled at the occupants of the van: 'Police officers. Show me your hands.' They asked that several times," Campbell said. "I walked out of view, and I heard about eight shots, and I turned around and went back and looked, and I saw a police officer on the west side of the van lying on the ground."
North Dakota has had 49 other officers die in the line of duty dating back to 1882, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, an independent website that compiles the names of law enforcement officers nationally who are killed in the line of duty.
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The last time an officer died on duty in North Dakota was in 1996 when correctional instructor Roger Sorenson drowned in the Little Missouri River at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Sorenson was attempting to cross the river on horseback while supervising a group of juvenile inmates on a hike.